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MailTribune.com
  • Family pulls together in Jacksonville

  • It's a lesson the pioneers learned when faced with the uncertainties of life: Sometimes all you can do is circle the wagons, rely on each other and hope for the best.
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  • It's a lesson the pioneers learned when faced with the uncertainties of life: Sometimes all you can do is circle the wagons, rely on each other and hope for the best.
    In the modern world, with its emphasis on individualism and families separated by long distances, that lesson often is forgotten. But in Jacksonville, an extended family lives in three houses on two side-by-side lots so they can all help each other. Their arrangement reinforces the importance of those old values.
    The parents are John and Roberta Rier, now 78 and 75. Their daughter, Rene, and her husband, Brad Beavers, are 51 and 52. And then there is Whit Rier, 53.
    In 1989, Whit was involved in an industrial accident that left him first in a coma, then in a wheelchair with rather severe brain damage. Whit's wife at the time followed the advice of doctors and placed him in an institution. His parents and sister, however, didn't like that advice, so they took him home. The senior Riers created a wheelchair-friendly room in their Medford home for him, and Whit's long road back began.
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