‘We’re making some dreams comes true’: Former Davis firefighter fixes up computers to donate to families in need

Local News

DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) – A local firefighter turned philanthropist is working to close the “digital divide” by fixing and donating more than 160 Apple computers to Sacramento-area families in need.

Friday was a big day for Megan House who, while on her way to becoming a nurse, faced a big dilemma.

“I knew I needed some form of computer, but I don’t have the funds to be able to get one right now,” she explained.

But now, she is getting her very first 21-inch iMac.

“It’s crazy, I love it, it’s exciting!” she told FOX40.

It was all thanks to former UC Davis firefighter Terry Zimmer and a dream of his that started 25 years ago when he was first introduced to the Apple computer.

“I’d buy used ones, fix them up, and then someone invariably would say, ‘Hey, I know somebody who could use one,'” Zimmer said.

Zimmer would go on to fix computers for the next 15 years as a simple side job. One day, he realized there was a greater need to help those who could not afford to have these technological necessities, and established IDream – The Mac Give Back Project in 2018.

“We got funds, we got donations of hardware that we got to fix up on the cheap and we gave them away,” Zimmer told FOX40. “Then, the pandemic hit and the requests went off the charts.”

Most of those requests were families with young children learning from home and those with disabilities, people who have a special place in Zimmer’s heart.

“A young mom came in and had asked for a small iPad because her kid was nonverbal,” Zimmer explained. “We gave her an iPad and the therapist can put a software that allows the kid to touch an icon, say an apple, and the iPad would say, ‘I want an apple.'”

“When she finished and realized that at age 3 she was going to be able to communicate with her daughter for the first time, she was almost in tears, as was I,” he continued. 

IDream has given out 90 devices in the last year and Zimmer said there’s always room for more.

“We’re not helping everybody, but we’re making some dreams comes true,” he said.

The U.S. Bank branch in Davis said after seeing the great work Zimmer is doing, they are letting him use one of their conference spaces to set up his giveaways anytime he needs it.

For more information, visit IDream’s website.

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