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Waterville man's vegetable stand stolen after donating thousands to church

"John's Veggies" vegetable stand before it was stolen.

Waterville, Ohio (WNWO)-- "I'm known as sweet corn John in these parts," said John Nicholoson, laughing.

The 86-year old is a musician,thespian and active in his church,Waterville United Methodist church. But above all of his passions, gardening has always been his specialty .

"My mother gave me a row in her family garden back in Missouri. I planted the radishes and green beans," said Nicholson. "I was hooked," he said.

Eight years ago, using just a picnic table, Nicholson started a vegetable stand with all the proceeds going to his church's new building campaign.

As business grew, so did his setup. His son in law built and designed an actual stand as a gift for his 80th birthday and though it's small , he's been able to make a big contribution.

"In eight years I've raised $103,000 from that little veggie stand out front of my house," said Nicholson chuckling.

For six years the stand went untouched,business as usual. However, on Monday morning Nicholson went outside and found a not-so-welcome surprise. The vegetable stand was gone from the front yard.

"I was in shock," said Nicholson.

There was unlimited neighborhood pickup the day before,so the family did consider possible scrappers coming in. But they say the stand had vegetables and a sign on it that were hard to miss, believing it was taken intentionally.

"It had to have been put in some kind of trailer," said Kathy Heisinger, John's daughter who originally wrote about the stolen stand on Facebook. "We felt violated that someone would come and take the stand," she said, noting it would have taken a lot of effort.

Nicholson doesn't have any ill will towards the culprit. He just wants the stand returned so he can keep donating.

"I'm 86-years-old. I don't know how many years I'm going to be able to do this," said Nicholson.

He's asking if you've seen anything about the stand or know something to contact him via his Facebook Page.

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