Friends build cabin for Temple man

TEMPLE – Last winter friends of Rick Davis and his wife, Jackie, put on a circus performance at Milford’s Amato Center attended by nearly 500 friends and supporters.

This spring more friends turned out, this time to the Davis’s home, to help build a small cabin for Rick.

Rick and Jackie are professional circus performers and they have been teaching their skills to children around here for decades.

Hit by a car

But in September of 2014 Rick was hit by a car on his daily walk and his injuries required a full hip replacement.

That’s when he received another blow – a diagnosis of a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.

The benefit circus performance brought people together for a tribute on New Year’s Eve and helped the family pay for expenses that aren’t covered by their health insurance.

The cabin has another purpose, Jackie said: It will enhance Rick’s quality of life.

It’s just a short walk from their house, but will be a place for him to escape the hubbub of family life – a place to have a quiet cup of coffee in the morning or invite a visitor in the evening.

The cabin went up on April 25, and it was an amazing day, Jackie said.

Lou Springer of Mont Vernon donated the timber and was in the process of milling the wood when Phil Brooks of Lyndeborough, founder of Brooks Post & Beam, heard about the project.

Brooks made it possible for the builders to create a timber-frame structure, Jackie said, using mortise and tenon joinery.

Post and beam construction means that the large posts and beams are used to create the load-bearing frame.

Rick’s brother, Jim, had flown in to lead the project from his home in New Zealand, where he designs shelters for Antarctic scientists.

When Brooks found out about the project and offered to help, “Jim switched gears,” said Jackie, and they brought the wood to Brooks and then the frame went up in one day.

All the wood and many of the materials were donated.

About a dozen people showed up for a “cabin-raising” with “a dozen beefy friends able to hoist 100-pound beams over their head,” said Jackie, who made a “giant beef stew” for the occasion.

Many have helped

Many people have been helping them in many ways, she said, and this latest concrete effort is “really, really great.”

When Rick was diagnosed, she said, “I knew life would get really small.” Rick is not working and can’t drive, at least for now.

A ‘healing space’

The cabin can be a “healing space” for him, his wife said, a place to walk outside and change the scene.

“I love it,” said Rick. “I’ve always been a creative person and like to paint, write, play music.”

The cabin will give him a place to do those things.

The cabin now has a door, windows, a metal roof, siding and a small deck. Still to come are insulation and interior paneling.

Now, Jackie hopes to acquire a small stove so Rick can use the cabin year round. They are accepting donations on the Crowdrise website, https://www.crowdrise.com/rickscabin/.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.