Tropic pulls out heavy machinery in support of 4-year-old ‘Jace Bud’

Megan Lee Photography

ST. GEORGE – In a small community, when one suffers the whole community suffers and, as seen in the town of Tropic Sunday, the townspeople pull together with everything they’ve got to do some heavy lifting to support a member in need – even to the extent of calling all cars to the cause or, in the case of 4-year-old Lonnie Jace Chynoweth – calling all diesels, tractors, semitrailer trucks, fire engines, police cars, track hoes, back hoes, loaders, excavators and every other imaginable piece of heavy machinery the community could muster up to welcome him home.

Lonnie “Jace Bud” Chynoweth, doing what he loves best. Tropic, Utah, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Samie Ott, St. George News
Lonnie “Jace Bud” Chynoweth, doing what he loves best. Tropic, Utah, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Samie Ott, St. George News

“Jace Bud,” as he prefers to be called, has been diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his brain stem that doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital determined to be inoperable, his aunt Samie Ott said.

Only three weeks ago, Jace Bud’s mother took him to the doctor because one eye was looking kind of like a lazy eye, Ott said. Calling it mother’s intuition, she said Jace Bud’s mom, her sister, took him to a pediatrician in St. George on Halloween where they did an MRI that disclosed the tumor. Jace Bud was immediately flown by Life Flight to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City where the tumor was found to be both malignant and inoperable; radiation therapy was not indicated as it wouldn’t do much to prolong his life, Ott said.

“But, they did put a shunt in to relieve the swelling off of his little head,” she said, “so immediately his eye popped up and his face went back to normal.”

Jace Bud loves his home, Ott said, and so when the hospital decided to release him Sunday, family, friends and the entire town of Tropic along with neighboring townspeople from Henrieville, Bryce Canyon City and Cannonville – some 700 people give or take – came out to give him an unforgettable welcome home.

DSC_0900Jace Bud, you see, is infatuated with heavy machinery.

“He has buckets and buckets of trucks and diesels and heavy equipment – toys; he has, I would say, 200,” Ott said, adding that with even more toys he received in the hospital they were going to have to buy him another bucket.

And so, as word spread of Jace Bud’s return home, all the heavy machinery in the region rolled out to greet him.

“The town of Tropic met him 15 miles outside of town with the fire engines and cop cars and put him in the fire engine with his mom and dad,” Ott said. “And they had lined up the whole street where he lives, probably six blocks,” she said, “with every piece of equipment – tractors, loaders, semis, every piece of equipment they could find – with red ribbons for courage.”

Placards and signs hung from the machinery, and were strung across yards and streets, shouting the words “courage,” “faith”  and “Welcome Home Jace Bud.”

Both Jace Bud’s parents Klay and Shayne Chynoweth come from ranching families, Klay Chynoweth from Henrieville and Shayne Chynoweth from Tropic. The two were high school sweethearts, married and have two children, Jace Bud, and his older sister, Allie, who is 7.

DSC_0915Klay Chynoweth works construction for Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City … operating heavy equipment, of course; and Shayne Chynoweth has worked two jobs, as a server and at a medical building – both jobs she will step away from to spend time with Jace Bud.

“My sister is going to have to quit working so she can provide, be with him all the time – they haven’t really set a time frame about how long he’ll live – so they want to spend every waking moment with him and make some lasting memories over the next couple months,” Ott said. “We’re all praying for a miracle hoping that it’ll be longer.”

Klay Chynoweth won’t be working as much as usual either so he can spend time with his son.

Ott said they’ll probably spend time with Jace Bud riding the 4-wheeler, or herding the cows, just doing wonderful things that create memories.

“It might just be to sit in a track hoe or loader,” she said; that’s his favorite thing to do.

The Chynoweths do have some medical insurance and considerable family in the area. Needs, nonetheless, are sure to increase and friends have set up a donation account through for any who might care to help.

“When you’re from a small town,” Ott said, “when something happens to someone you feel like you’re all suffering.”

To help the Chynoweth family, donations can be made through the Jace Chynoweth Assistance Fund website.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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  • Small Town Love!! November 11, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I love this area! There are so many good people here to support and help you in difficult times. I’m so glad we moved here : )

  • sagemoon November 11, 2014 at 8:34 am

    So sweet.

  • Coffeelarge November 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

    One minute you have an ordinary life, getting ready to trick or treat with your little boy, and then suddenly you find out he is going to die and there is nothing really you can do about it….I can’t even imagine what his family must be feeling.

  • durite November 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    truly a awesome community and whole area , I ‘m proud to say I am a part of those roots that run so deep … ! good job friends, all my support and prayers for this family

  • jason November 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Heartbreaking story- cant imagine the sadnesss they are feeling.

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