MAYVILLE - 2013 was a very bad year for Mike Weary.
Weary, a lifelong Mayville resident, has worked for many years as a carpenter. With his co-workers, he has built many of the area's pole barns and other structures. He has raised five children, and with them he has shared his love of camping, hunting and fishing. And he loved his Harley.
In June 2013, while admittedly driving his Harley too fast on the mostly empty roads around his home, a deer shot out onto the road from behind a hedge. Weary hit the deer broadside, went over the front of his bike, and probably traveled 400 feet forward, which may have saved his life, as his speed at impact was diminished.
The bike was severely damaged, as were Weary's back, neck, leg and Achilles tendon. Weary no longer rides "anything with handlebars," and has made that a promise to his children. But for now he cannot work either.
Weary's home was a cabin on Haight Road which he had renovated and was expanding. It was heated by a woodstove. The home contained many mounts - of deer, bear, pheasants and turkeys, among others, trophies from his years of hunting. It contained the tools of his trade, the photographs of his children, and of course all of his possessions - clothing, furniture, appliances, all of the items we use on a daily basis.
The home was not insured. Weary had made inquiries and found that he needed to add a railing to the deck he had built at the rear of his home and make some modifications to his woodstove before he could qualify for insurance. He was working on these projects, but with his injuries, the work progressed very slowly.
In mid-December the weather turned cold. Weary couldn't work on his deck so decided to spend some time with his daughter and two young grandsons in Northport, Fla. Because he did not want to subject his dog Lucy to the rigors of flying, he went to the airport to rent a car for the trip for himself and Lucy to head for Florida. Just as he started the rental car, his telephone rang. It was a friend, telling him that his house was on fire. Weary's response: "Get my dog out of there."
But in a rural area where most of the neighbors are Amish and few have telephones, the house was nearly demolished by the time the fire was discovered. When Weary arrived, he found that his dog, Lucy, was dead. The house was destroyed - the roof of the structure collapsed, and the possessions of a lifetime nearly all gone.
It was cold when the fire began, and with the large amounts of water used by firefighters to put out the blaze, anything that remains is still encased in ice. But it is apparent that almost nothing will be found in useable condition.
Weary insists that he is used to dealing with problems on his own, and seems a bit embarrassed at the idea of a benefit to help him. But as his sister - who is one of those organizing the benefit pointed out - Weary has been left with almost nothing. Everything he owned and the tools of his trade are gone. His opportunity to work is severely limited by his physical condition.
The fundraiser to help Weary rebuild his home will be held at the Mayville VFW on Saturday beginning at noon. The organizers of the event, Laurie Weary-Gilbert and Pam Braun-Smith, have requested donations for a Chinese auction from area merchants. Those attending may purchase lunch and participate in the Chinese auction. Friends of Mike may also want to provide personal items for Mike's home, and cash or building materials for Mike to rebuild. Anyone wanting specific suggestions to meet Weary's needs can call Weary-Gilbert at 753-3030 or Braun-Smith at 269-2076.