By LISA M. HOFFMANN
IRON MOUNTAIN - Home Depot built and presented a five-year-old Kingsford boy suffering from a genetic, chronic disorder a homemade Halloween costume this week.
Lisa M. Hoffmann/The Daily News Photo
Austin Angeloff tries out his Halloween costume, a Michigan State Police car, built by employees of Home Depot in Iron Mountain. Austin suffers from Mitochondrial Disease and uses a wheel chair.
Genevieve Angeloff said her son, Austin, wanted to be police officer for Halloween. So she called Home Depot to see if they had a refrigerator box she could use to make a Michigan State Police car for her son's Halloween costume.
"They took it from there and decided to build him a state police car," she said.
Ryan Alessandroni, assistant manager at Home Depot, said the family brought in a photo of the state police car design. After some online research, Fred Fox, millwork specialist at Home Depot came up with the best design.
Since Austin uses a wheel chair, Alessandroni said the car had to be lightweight and able to be pushed.
"Employees used insulation foam and thin luan board for structural integrity," he said.
Head cashiers from the store painted the customized state police car.
Jesse Parker, merchandising assistant store manager, said Frisbees were used for the steering wheel and all four wheels. The car has a speedometer and headlights. An upside down cup on top of the costume even lights up and flashes like a real state police car.
The car is also designed so that it opens up.
Geno Basanese of the Michigan State Police Post in Iron Mountain, who helped present the costume said he heard Austin's story and wanted to help make it happen. He even gave Austin a goody bag of state police items, such as a coloring book.
Lynn Theeck, head cashier at Home Depot and family friend of the Angeloff's, said Austin's mother asked for a box.
"And since I knew the family was struggling as far as medical expenses I thought it would be a project," she said.
While being wheeled to see his new costume, Austin Angeloff was in total shock upon seeing it and couldn't stop saying "It is so cool."
Several family and friends attended the presentation, including Austin's grandparents, Nancy and Jerry McIntyre of Iron Mountain.
Michael Angeloff, Austin's father who was presented a prisoner costume to wear while pushing his son's costume, said the community support has been unbelievable.
"The support from the community is unbelievable and overwhelming," he said.
Austin has Mitochondrial Disease, genetic, chronic disorder that affects his immune system making him more prone to tiredness and infections.
He recently sold ribbons to raise awareness and help find a cure for his disease.
Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is email@example.com.