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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2005
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Oden Ridge couple seeks help for Dillon

By Ronnie Thomas
DAILY Staff Writer

rthomas@decaturdaily.com 340-2438

EVA — One of the happiest moments of David Hammac's life would have made some men run for cover.

Hammac said no one mistook the smile on his face and the beam in his eye when the paymaster of a Decatur chemical plant called him in to discuss child support payments.

Hammac, 42, who lives in the Oden Ridge community near Eva, knew that after a 10-year search for his daughter, he had found her.

"If they wanted my money, they had to say where she was. We called and found her in protective care in Copperas Cove, Texas, near Killeen," said Hammac, a Kodiak, Alaska, native.

From that moment in September 2001, the ride for Hammac and his wife, the former Mae McNutt, a Morgan County native, has been a tangle of joy and excitement, terror, and sorrow.

The couple appeared in a Bell County, Texas, courtroom in January 2002. His ex-wife was present, along with the daughter he had not seen in years.

Hammac said the court would not let his ex-wife speak. He said he learned from court documents that while the daughter was under her care, three men molested the child, from the time she was 6 years old. He said two of them are in prison. His ex-wife's attorney told Hammac that their daughter delivered a son, Dillon, when she was 16.

"The court gave us custody of my daughter and Dillon," Hammac said. "We love them both equally."

He said his daughter is doing well academically and will graduate from an area high school.

"Socially, she has the mind of a 12-year-old," Hammac said. "We're getting help for her."

His main concern is for 4-year-old Dillon, who began having seizures at the end of 2002. He said that doctors at Children's Hospital in Birmingham tested the child two days during October and discovered he was having 150 to 200 seizures a day.

Hammac said his grandson has "full-brainal" epilepsy. He said he is on 13 different types of medications for seizures, back pain, asthma and sleep disorder.

"Both my wife and I have lost good jobs over this, trying to care for him and my daughter," said Hammac, a former long-distance truck driver who works construction in Huntsville.

"Now, doctors tell us that basically there is nothing else they can do for Dillon. They tell us he is on the last medication they know to give him. All we ever get is more medication and told things like 'He's on Medicaid. What else do you want?' I can't accept that. His seizures are getting worse. I can't believe we go into space, walk on the moon, but can't save a child."

Hammac said people should see his grandson interact with others.

"He's such an intelligent child and so full of life," he said. "With me walking alongside him, he drives the riding mower to the store, about a tenth of a mile from the house, to buy treats. He mows the grass as well as anyone, again with me there walking with him."

Hammac said he and his wife pray that their story will attract a guardian angel who will assist their grandson and help them move forward with the journey they began together in a Texas courtroom.

They can be reached at (256) 482-2234.

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