There are those times when something just clicks, something unexpected, when a little good-hearted magic happens that can change a life. One of those times happened at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Farragut.
Angelia Jones, the executive director of the Cerebral Palsy Center of Knoxville, was our speaker. She has been leading the center since January 2017 and is still learning about the center and the 100 or so people the center supports. She is a quick study. During her presentation, she was telling us about some of those people with cerebral palsy, and about some of their needs, and about real-life things the center needs.
“Many of these are seemingly simple things, but many of their families can’t afford them,” she explained. “One example … every morning (five mornings a week) one of our vans picks up a young man at his home, and it’s early in the morning, and we take him home later in the afternoon. Good weather or bad weather. He has cerebral palsy, but he can walk, but our driver is always so scared for him. He’s blind.”
This man, in his 30s, lives with his elderly parents, and has to negotiate five front-porch steps to get down to the sidewalk and then back to his house at the end of the day.
Cerebral palsy, blindness and steps can be a dangerous combination.
“The driver has two other people in the van so she can’t leave the van to help him. It may be raining, or we might have had some snow. They’re always scared he’ll stumble or trip and fall on the steps. There’s no handrail and that’s what he needs, a handrail for these steps,” Angelia said.
That’s when the magic happened.
Out of the audience, immediately and in the middle of her speech, came these words: “I’ll take care of that handrail for you.”
We looked around and it was Wil Glafenhein doing the talking. Wil is a new young member of the 92-member strong club. He didn’t hesitate or stop to think about it. He instantly knew he could help.
“Just because it was such a great way to help someone truly in need and I have the means to help” is how he explained why he stepped up. Nothing more. Nothing less.
When the meeting ended, Wil and Angelia got together to exchange phone numbers and get the ball rolling on this project – a small one to Wil – but a major one to Angelia, the center and to this man and his family.
Wil and his father, Glen, are partners in Honors Real Estate. Besides selling homes, they buy land for development and work with builders and contractors. Installing a handrail is something they can handle. “It will take us about a day to get it done,” he said. “When someone needs help like this, we all should step up and help.”
The handrail ball is rolling. The magic happened. Wil Glafenhein is making a difference for a man he’s never met!