These pictures are from Paul and my wedding. The first is Paul and his mom. The second is of Paul's brothers, Matt and Daniel, pretending to be penguins in there tuxes!
Turning lemons into lemonade
Daniel Coakley quenches the thirst and lifts the spirits of those in his Hanford neighborhood
By Heather Halsey
If life hands you lemons -- make lemonade, like Daniel Coakley has done for the last five summers.
After he found out that his father, Joe, had a lemonade stand when he was a boy, Daniel started his own in 2005 and has been peddling lemonade and conversation ever since.
"It's fun," Daniel said. "I get to see my old friends."
The gregarious 20-year-old with Down syndrome sets up shop from Monday through Saturday at 3 p.m. on Easy Street in Hanford where he has no qualms about waving to a passing car or chatting up a neighbor or two.
Liz Cleveland lives across the street from Daniel and routinely pops over for a quick chat and a cup of the sweet lemony drink that he makes from a powdered mix.
"We have a big jar of change that we keep for my grandkids when they come because they always want to come over here to Daniel's," Cleveland said.
Just like any other shrewd businessman, Daniel has business cards to promote the stand that he made on a computer with the help of one of his seven siblings.
He also keeps detailed records of his customer demographics and transactions, which show that last year he sold 43 cups of lemonade from May 27 to Oct. 29.
While he runs the booth he frequently calls friends and acquaintances he's met at St. Brigid's Catholic Church to invite them over for some lemonade.
He sells a large cup for 50 cents and charges 25 cents for a small or refills.
The money he collects are mainly dimes and quarters, which he adds to a jar that electronically tallies the coins for him.
On July 15 it was filled to the brim with coins, and the digital screen said he had $72.79, which Daniel said he probably won't spend on anything at all.
"He would do this for free just for the people that he meets," Joe Coakley said about his son.
He said that Daniel gives a lot of his profits to church and to homeless people that he passes on the street when he makes his weekly treks to Blockbuster and back.
"At least half the people in town know him because he waves to everyone that passes," Joe Coakley said.
It's evident that Daniel's business sense and wit never cease to amaze his father, who was surprised when he saw that his son had even dug up an old photograph of him when he was 8 years old serving lemonade in Mariposa.
The Coakleys moved from Mariposa to Hanford in 1985 so that Joe could teach special education to students at Shelly Baird School while Daniel's mother, Kathy, home-schooled their eight children.
When Daniel isn't sitting behind his lemonade stand he is often canvassing his neighborhood, knocking on doors to collect money for specific charities like he did last winter when he collected money for the Walk for Life in San Francisco.
"It's fun I got to see different cultures," Daniel said of the people he met while going door to door.
Fundraising for charities is one way he works to accomplish his biggest goals, many of which are all listed in a notebook he keeps titled, "Daniel's Dream History."
Of course one of the dreams he lists is to sell lemonade but he has more lofty goals, including creating homes for the homeless.
"I'd like to save my community," Daniel said.
For now Daniel is spreading hope one cup at a time from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, before he closes up shop and heads inside to eat dinner and watch two of his favorite TV shows -- "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune."