‘An amazing human being’: Middletown Boy Scout provides mobility to partially paralyzed woman

Excerpt form The Middletown Press from Friday, May 15, 2021. Read the full article here: https://www.middletownpress.com/middletown/article/An-amazing-human-being-Middletown-Boy-16178067.php?fbclid=IwAR0U4onu7l315ram8VdGYcrx0-X8RglcH9cWyu5qsEzuPqTWg19siFSrA6Y#photo-20993438

MIDDLETOWN — This year, Mother’s Day was one of jubilation for Adela Santiago, who is partially paralyzed due to an accident two years ago that left her in severe pain and unable to walk.

Little did she know, Santiago had a 15-year-old guardian angel who has been hard at work behind the scenes planning one of the biggest surprises of her lifetime.

Santiago has known Middletown Eagle Scout candidate Michael Kline since he was very young, after becoming friends with his mother, Christine. The teen learned about Santiago’s plight from a friend, and became inspired to help her achieve mobility.

Santiago only had a borrowed folding wheelchair that was cumbersome to operate for her two children — her only support, she said. Also, the cost was prohibitive.

“I want to make sure they could handle it and she could be safe while doing it,” Kline said of Santiago’s 14-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter….

Kline, who attends Thomas Edison Middle School in Meriden and will be entering Middletown High School in the fall, is working toward his Eagle badge project. When he learned of Santiago’s situation, he made quick work of returning enough bottles and cans to purchase the $500 scooter at a discounted rate from Estate Treasures on Main Street Extension.

The original price is nearly $2,000. Shop owner Ed Margnelli made a deal, adding in an electric charger and battery, said Christine Kline, who remained “hands off” so her son could take full charge of the project.

Santiago began to cry as she described how much the wheelchair means to her — and how it will allow her to regain her freedom, and hopefully soon, enter the classroom to teach science again. She called Michael Kline “outstanding.”