Grand Rapids family receives special donations after thefts

Strangers donate money, iPads, hockey tickets, home security system

Yolanda Lange, Rick McKee
Yolanda Lange hugs Rick McKee, who donated money to the Lange family. (Dec. 13, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After a Grand Rapids family’s home was burglarized twice in less than a week, West Michigan stepped up to help them.

A computer, an Xbox, Christmas presents and iPads were stolen when thieves hit the Langes’ home in Alger Heights. The six Lange sons — three of whom are on the autism spectrum and all of whom have some sort of cognitive disability — used the iPads as learning and calming tools.

After 24 Hour News 8 shared the Langes’ story on Monday, phone calls, emails and Facebook messages poured into our newsroom from people who wanted to help.

Tuesday afternoon, Rick McKee met with the Lange family to give them a $1,500 donation. McKee, a disabled U.S. Coast Guard veteran, said he saw himself in the Lange boys and recently lost his service dog, Mystic, who loved kids.

“I want to do something for those three little boys in memory of Mystic,” McKee said. “I sat there and I read it and it just broke my heart. It’s just the fact that those are three little disabled boys — that’s like me.”

The boys’ parents, Yolande and Adam Lange, were speechless as McKee handed over a check.

But the surprises weren’t over.Genius Phone Repair donated four new iPads for the boys, each equipped with cases.

“IPads aren’t just fun and games. They’re for learning, they’re for homework. They open up a new world of possibilities,” one Genius Phone Repair employee explained.

The Lange family checks out donated iPads. (Dec. 13, 2016)

The boys were thrilled with the new electronics.

Another gift for the Langes will help them feel protected after the thefts.

“Please let Adam and Yolanda know that EPS Security is willing to install a home security system and monitor it, and we will do this for no cost,” Yolanda Lange read from a note, tearing up.

That’s a relief for Adam Lange.

“I made the mistake of telling them all (the boys) that will never happen — nobody breaks in to the same place twice. That will never happen. We’re safe now. Then what do you say when it happens again?” he said. “They can have some sense of security and not feel like someone’s going to take it again because there are people watching out for us and there’s people watching out for them.”

The Grand Rapids Griffins also offered free tickets to the kids.

“The kindness of strangers is pretty awesome,” Yolanda Lange said.