Kolton's wish: Jungle bedroom brings tears of joySubmitted: 11/11/2015
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Kolton's wish:  Jungle bedroom brings tears of joy
MONTREAL - It didn't take long for the tears to start flowing from Kris Ouellette's eyes on Wednesday at her home in the Iron County community of Montreal. She had cried plenty of tears of frustration, sadness, and anger regarding her grandson, Kolton. But these were tears of pure joy.

"Oh my god!" she exclaimed as she walked into the bedroom, three-year-old Kolton in her arms. "Oh, look buddy!"

A huge stuffed giraffe greeted them. Vinyl animals danced on the walls. Fern leaves helped complete the jungle theme of the newly remodeled bedroom for Kolton.

"Unfortunately, he just can't express what he's thinking. So I'm going to do it for him," Kris said. "He is saying, 'You guys are the best. He's thanking you from the bottom of his heart.'"

Kolton can't express what he's thinking because his brain damage is permanent and severe. He can't walk. He can't talk. His response to stimuli is highly limited, and he requires nearly constant medical care. He will likely stay that way for a long time. But the jungle bedroom, a gift from Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, is a definite bright spot.

"It's been a crazy two years, but we finally have something good happening for Kolton," Kris said.

Two years ago, a man named Brandon Brunette inflicted the injuries on Kolton at a home in Wabeno. Brunette was the boyfriend of Kolton's mother, Jennifer Shepard. While babysitting, Brunette became frustrated with Kolton and flung the toddler across the room. The young boy's momentum didn't stop until he crashed into the wall. Brunette is serving 15 years in prison for his actions. Shepard is in jail for attempting to cover for Brunette.

"I'm with [Kolton] every day. I don't forget. I never will," said Kris, who now cares for him.

Wednesday's Make-A-Wish presentation perhaps helped ease the sting, maybe just a little bit, maybe just for a day.

But the wish for Kolton was a little different than it might be for most kids.

"Let's face it. With Kolton's brain injuries, I can'tówell, I could bring him to Disney," Kris said, "but it's not anything that he'll remember, enjoy."

"How about a cruise?" said volunteer wish granter Mike Jones. "Well, probably not a cruise. DisneyWorld? Well, that would be a little tough. Finally, you start narrowing it down. What would make sense?"

In the end, a jungle bedroom was Kris' choice. She was overwhelmed by the result.

"There are not even words to explain how I feel about what they've done for him, and for my family," she said, choking back tears.

"How would you put it?" Jones asked himself in trying to describe the feeling of the day. "It's in your heart, you know?"

"This is a great day," Kris said with a smile. "This truly is a great day."

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