Rochester MnDOT Employee Battling Cancer Seeks Vacation Donations

Updated: 02/28/2014 10:39 PM
Created: 02/28/2014 9:47 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- MnDOT crews have been busy trying to keep roads safe for drivers. However tonight, one of their own needs help. We talked with a MnDOT worker battling cancer, who is finding some relief from the generosity of his co-workers.

Dennis Kinsley has been the mechanic behind MnDOT's heavy machinery for close to 30 years. "It's just a good place to be, it's a lot of fun,” said Kinsley. He fixes the trucks that work to keep our roads safe all winter long. But it's now Dennis that needs a little extra attention.

"In October, I went in and I was diagnosed with colon cancer which is metastases into my liver,” said Kinsley.

A diagnosis that has led to multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and countless doctor visits. Dennis hasn't been able to work for the past month and that's time off he can't afford. "I want to be able to take care of my wife and my family as long as I can,” he said.

His vacation and sick time will soon run out, but Dennis can now take a sigh of relief. He's been approved for the State Employee Vacation Donation Program, where state workers can give their extra time off to those who need it more.

"We just hope it helps,” said co-worker, Paul Bissen. Many of his co-workers have already donated. "He's just one of those regular nice guys, he's always fun to be around and a good guy to be around so we want him back,” said Bissen.

They've made flyers and shared Dennis' story through social media.

"It's pretty touching, you know, it really is to find out people care that much about you,” said Kinsley.

For Dennis, the donations from Minnesota employees, mean retaining his benefits and staying on the payroll. For a guy who's worked hard for his wife and three kids, that's all he hopes to keep on doing.

"I really feel pretty good, so I’m not in denial, but I’m not ready to give up on this thing,” said Kinsley.

Dennis says he hopes to be back at work part time within the next couple weeks. Currently there's 34 state employees using the vacation donation program. State employees can log into to donate.