The Elgin boy who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor has also had a lifelong love affair with the mail. Ever since he was old enough to talk, Hasken has followed every move of the men and women who stop by his family's home on Enterprise Street on the city's east side, and in recent years he's even walked the neighborhood with carrier Bruce Beu.
Nearly everyone at the Elgin post office has come to know Joel, who is also autistic. His recent health decline had such an effect on the postal employees that they organized the mother of all deliveries Friday.
Roughly a dozen mail trucks, fire and police vehicles and friends and family stopped by the house to offer their support. And even though he didn't come out of the house to greet them, he watched from inside the home as truck after truck delivered mail to a custom-made mailbox with his name on the side, placed right in front of his house for the occasion.
Elgin Postmaster Sue Menthe and her staff brought flowers, a mail satchel and balloons for Joel to let him know they were pulling for him and eager to have his help again on neighborhood mail routes.
More than two dozen friends, family members and neighbors turned out on the brisk morning to help wish Joel well and cheer on the postal crew as they made at least one wish come true for their favorite mail carrier in training.
TheDaily Herald is a news partner with ABC7.