When the Make-A-Wish Foundation approached Finnley and his parents about gifting a wish to the St. Charles County child, his father, Jason, said they considered all the usual things.
“Everybody usually goes to Disneyland, Disney World or something like that and we thought that would be some kind of a neat thing, but it would be just a memory. He wouldn’t be able to keep it,” Jason said. “So we thought well, he loves cars. He loves mechanics stuff and things like that. He kept saying that he wanted to close in the clubhouse we had in the backyard and make it into a garage.”
And so an idea was born. What if Make-A-Wish built Finnley his own garage where he could work on his cars?
“He was driving one of those Little Tykes cars – the kind you kind of Flinstone – before he could even walk,” Finnley’s mom, Sabrina, said. “Until just recently, he hasn’t had anything that wasn’t foot-powered. But he’s a natural driver and he loves cars. He likes to try to fix things and take things apart.”
Sabrina said Finnley’s love of cars comes naturally. His late papa, her dad, was an auto body technician and mechanic. The two were very close.
Born with a congenital heart condition that caused the left side of his heart to be underdeveloped, Finnley has undergone three open-heart surgeries and will continue to require surgeries throughout his life. Difficulties with speech also make the 10-year-old a little bit shy, “but he’s not quiet at home,” Sabrina said, laughing.
On Friday, May 10 at 3 p.m., Finnley and his family, which includes two brothers and a sister, were joined by representatives from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Rolwes Company and the St. Charles County and Lake Saint Louis police departments for the reveal of Finnley’s Garage.
Sabrina said he was a bit overwhelmed, but as soon as everyone left, he was busy at work in his garage. She is especially grateful that Finnley got to participate in the building of his garage.
“Everybody was so nice,” she said. “He got out there and watched them dig the dirt [for the garage’s foundation] and he got to help with spreading the concrete and putting his handprints in the concrete inside and on the sidewalk.”
Helping to make Finnley’s dream come true was the Rolwes Company and its trade partners.
“We hope that the project brings great joy to Finnley and his family for years to come,” Seth Landon said on behalf of the family-owned, Ballwin-based home builder. “Rolwes Company also owes a great deal of thanks to our generous trade partners who donated time and material to make this wish possible.”
Kira McGrotty, wish specialist at Make-A-Wish Missouri & Kansas, noted that it takes the support of generous, creative people to make such dreams come true.
“Finnley’s mini garage truly exemplified the creative spirit that can inspire a wish and transform it into a reality! Focusing on the uniqueness, creating a personalized wish experience, and seeing everyone involved come together to rally for Finnley was truly something special,” McGrotty said.
The police officers in attendance heralded Finnley’s second passion – law enforcement.
“He loves police officers,” Sabrina explained. “He’s got a cop outfit that he wears all the time, like even when we go to the store. So [the police officers] came and they brought the dog that rides in the car. He was super excited but also a little overwhelmed. There were like 40 strangers in our backyard and all of them were there for him.”