Hisers struggle with hardship PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 04 December 2009 11:01
Hiser family at their home. From left, Scott, Conner being held by Makahlea, Jaimiee, Evan (background) and Brendan, being held by Dawn. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
Scott, who had worked at Modine Manufacturing in Pemberville for 12 years, has been laid off with the other 225 or so employees there.
"It was strange leaving, I made a lot of friends over the years there," he said. "It's really strange going in the factory and seeing it empty."
Scott, who put his wife through nursing school, is now faced with the new role of "Mr. Mom" for the couple's five children.
"It's been very hard on him," Dawn said.
Making matters worse, Scott had surgery on his shoulder in July, then had to have a second operation to correct scar tissue problems from the initial surgery.
"She's the only one working," Scott said of his wife, who is employed as a nurse in the emergency department at Wood County Hospital. "I can't wait to get to the position that I can work."
The surgeries have not only kept Scott from getting a job, but have also limited the work he can do at home.
"That's been one of the worst things for me - not being able to work here at home."
The past year has been a constant rollercoaster ride for the Hiser family, of rural Bowling Green.
The couple's new baby born in May has serious vision problems, creating the need for two surgeries and several family "vacations" to the Cleveland Clinic. The medical bills so far are already over $45,000.
"The insurance companies are still fighting," Dawn said.
Brendan, just 7 months old, has been fitted with eyeglasses, that sometimes seem like a very expensive pacifier.
"Only time will tell," what Brendan's vision will be as he matures, his mom said.
Scott's surgeries and job loss have turned him into the main caretaker for the couple's children ages 11, 10, 7, 2 years and 7 months.
"I've learned to appreciate what stay-at-home moms do," he said.
As the calls from bill collectors grew, the couple spent nearly seven months wrangling with their mortgage company to get a more manageable loan. They finally got a restructured mortgage, and feel more confident about keeping their rural home.
"This is totally our dream," Dawn said of their split level home. "We're out in the country with a pond. The kids have room to run. It would have been devastating to everyone to have to leave."
The family has also benefited from the kindness of others. Before the school year started, Dawn arrived at work one day to find packed bookbags for each of their children.
"They have been phenomenal in the ER," she said. "They are absolutely phenomenal."
But life has definitely changed for the family. There are few dinners at restaurants, and no more window shopping.
"We're down to just the essentials," Scott said. "There's a lot of stress with the bills."
And even little splurges can be expensive with a large family living from paycheck to paycheck.
"When you buy a gallon of ice cream with five kids - it's gone," Scott said.
Both family vehicles have more than 120,000 miles on them, and when the lawnmower breaks down, Scott searches on e-Bay for cheap replacement parts.
"We've got to make do with what we've got now," he said.
And with Christmas approaching, the parents are a little worried.
The children realize that times are tough, "they know Mom and Dad won't be buying as much," Dawn said. However, that logic only goes so far with young ones. "But Santa is Santa. He doesn't have financial problems."
Seven-year-old Evan already has a two-page Christmas list. And the oldest daughter, now in middle school, keeps asking for brand name clothing not from discount stores.
The parents have come up with a plan to recycle some of the toys that have been packed away for a couple years, passing them down to younger siblings.
"I love Christmas," Dawn said. "I think it will be OK."
And Scott is hopeful that the new year will bring a new job for him.
"I'm going to take basically anything they have to offer," he said. "I'm anxious to get back in the job market."

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