Stevie the Wonder steer finds a forever home in Clay

By on September 21, 2016

Sale of blind animal benefits local disabled boy

Stevie the Wonder steer has a forever home in Clay.

Stevie the Wonder steer has a forever home in Clay.

Stevie may be the world’s luckiest and most blessed steer. Born blind on a farm in Indiana, he was four months old in July 2015 when a fierce storm pushed the creek near his pasture over its banks. Stevie got caught in the flood and was swept away.

For miles, the calf bobbed helplessly in the water, until his feet found a solid foothold and he was able to drag himself out of the current. He was alive, but he was blind and miles away from his home farm. Somehow, though, he knew where that farm was and he found his way back.

He walked home.

But no matter how cute, charming and spirited they are, steers get sold as part of the food chain, and Stevie was no exception. His final destination, though, was a farm in the little Lancaster County town of Clay, and he’s going to be a pasture pet for the rest of his natural days, according to his new owners, Sarah and Jay Zimmerman and their three children, Sierra, 16, Hannah, 12-almost-13, and nine-year-old Jake.

Hannah was the one who spotted Stevie in an online auction, thought he was really cute, and wanted to bring him home and care for him. The Zimmermans were the winning bidders in the auction, which was a benefit for a school for blind children in Indiana.

They named him after blind singer Stevie Wonder. In addition to a new name and a new home, they gave Stevie a new purpose.

The Zimmermans are active in the Denver Fair, which has a benefit auction of animals in the livestock show and exhibit. It was Hannah’s idea to put Stevie on the auction block and donate part of the proceeds from the sale to finance some alternative therapies for Zeke Mumma, a 13-year-old boy with very limited vision and mobility.

Laurie Mumma and her husband Don, who live in nearby Lititz with Zeke and his younger brother, go to the Ephrata Community Church in Ephrata, as do the Zimmermans. When Hannah decided that Stevie’s sale needed a cause, Zeke was it.

Stevie, Hannah Zimmerman's blind Wonder steer, was the reserve champion steer at last week's Denver Fair. Brian Oberholtzer (far right) purchased the animal for $3,000. A portion of the sale proceeds plus an additional $1,950 in donations were presented to the Mumma family on behalf of their son Zeke, who is also visually impaired. Shown here with Zeke are his parents, Laurie and Don.

Stevie, Hannah Zimmerman’s blind Wonder steer, was the reserve ghampion steer at the Denver Fair. Brian Oberholtzer, far right, purchased the animal for $3,000. A portion of the sale proceeds plus an additional $1,950 in donations were presented to the Mumma family on behalf of their son, Zeke, who is also visually impaired. Shown with Zeke are his parents, Laurie and Don.

Zeke’s mom said he’ll need a lifetime of care and expressed her gratitude for the extra resources they’ll be able to have for him. The church wasn’t the only connection between the two moms. Laurie, who starred as a softball pitcher at Ephrata High School and later at Shippensburg State University, was Sarah’s coach when she played for Ephrata.

Stevie’s big night in Denver resulted in a winning bid of $3,000, plus an additional $1,950 in donations to Zeke’s care. After the sale, Kerry Boyd, Sarah’s dad, bought Stevie back, and trucked him to his permanent home in Clay.

Zeke’s mom said they took him to visit Stevie and he had a chance to pet him.

When we visited Stevie for a portrait session, he was hanging out in a pasture with two of his bovine buddies. Sarah and her mom, Deb, were in the pen with Stevie and the two other steers they had bought from the same farm where Stevie was born. The other two are being prepped for showing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg in January, but Stevie is officially retired from the show ring.

His job now is to hang out, look handsome and cheer people up. He’s doing all three in fine championship form, according to Sarah.

“He has really impacted our family,” she said. “You can have a really bad day and go visit Stevie and he’ll make you feel better. He’ll wag his tail, he’ll smell you and hear you and he’ll come to you to be petted. You can’t help but feel better after a visit with Stevie.”

Sarah said donations are still being accepted for the Zeke Mumma fund. Checks can be made out to the fund and mailed to Hannah Zimmerman at 1655 Clay Road, Ephrata, Pa., 17522.

 

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