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Wish comes true: Adopted 7-year-old really wanted a push mower to help his dad

Paul Kuehnel
York Daily Record

Seven-year-old Evan Sechrist wrote a letter to Santa asking for a push lawn mower so that he could help his father mow two acres of grass around his home. His family thought he was kidding.

But Santa came through in the new year when a push mower magically showed up outside his home ready to go mow.

On Dec. 15, Evan wrote a letter to Santa with a list of Christmas gift wishes and on the list was a push lawn mower. The boy said that he saw his father dealing with his riding mower over the summer, a belt falling off, and he wanted to help him out. Evan started thinking, “why don’t I get a push mower, so I can help him.” 

Evan Sechrist takes off with the push mower, while his father, Tim, looks on. At 7, Evan wasn't old enough to operate a gas-powered mower so he asked Santa to bring him a push mower so he could help his father.

Evan isn’t allowed to use the gas-powered mower yet. His dad says that his father didn’t let him use one until he was about 12-13 years old. Determined to help, Evan got the idea of using a push mower after seeing the Amish using them in Lancaster County. 

Evan’s father, Tim Sechrist, mows 2 acres at their East Manchester Township home. “It’s not all yard (grass), but it’s enough,” he said.

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“He’s a big helper. He always wants to help whenever he can ... he isn’t afraid to ask. Every time we go to the grocery store, he wants to hold the door for people,” his father said

Evan and his 11-year-old sister Samantha came to live with the Sechrists in July of 2017 and were officially adopted in December 2018, according to Tim Sechrist.

“When I woke up (Christmas morning), there were a bunch of presents, and I didn’t see the push mower,” Evan lamented. 

Seven-year-old Evan Sechrist and his father, Tim, look out on to the 2 acres that Evan is proud now that he has a way to help his father mow.

The push mower was a soft-spoken request between Evan and Santa. “He wrote it in the letter to Santa, but didn’t tell a lot of people,” his father said.

“You said to us that it was the present you really wanted,” his great-aunt Joan Lategano said, recalling Evan's words that morning.

Evan’s father describes his son as a “typical kid who does pretty well at chores.” One is to collect the trash around the house with his sister and see that it all gets into the cans just before garbage day.

Last week, there was a late surprise from Santa waiting by the garbage cans on chore day. It was the mower, a push lawn mower.

While showing off the mower to a visitor on Sunday, Evan had already planned his responsibilities for lawn mowing next summer saying, “dad is doing the front, and I’m doing the back.”

Leaning into the push bar handle that comes up even with the boy’s head when he is pushing his hardest, Evan described the new gift: “the faster you go the more it kicks out (grass).” 

Evan says he likes the outdoors and “getting exercise”. His says his long-term career goal is to become, “a cop, a fireman and the Army.”

I have captured life through the lens since 1983, and am currently a visual journalist with the USAToday Network. You can reach me at pkuehnel@ydr.com.