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Injured man retains optimism

Undergoes intensive therapy


For six hours a day, five days a week, John Paul Kelley pushes and pushes his body through an arduous routine of physical therapy at a rehab center 500 miles away from his Proctorville home.

Before June 21, spending his days like this was the farthest from his mind. Kelley was active, going to work every day at C.F. Reuschlein Jewelers, married to his wife, Jessica, and the proud father of a 2-month-old daughter

Then one lazy summer afternoon spent swimming in a friend’s pool ended in an unbelievable accident. Now Kelley is paralyzed from the chest down.

“He doesn’t have function with his hands or below his chest,” Jessica said in an interview Monday from the rehab center. “It is terrible but we are dealing with it. He is very positive about everything. He is doing well.”

Except for an hour for lunch, Kelley works at what the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., calls their boot camp.

“There is drastic improvement,” Jessica said. “We are hoping to be home by the beginning of November. Then do physical therapy once he returns. He is very positive. I don’t know if I would be as positive. The staff down here is wonderful. They try to make it as easy as possible. He is learning functional skills. There are all kinds of adaptive devices until he regains function in his hands.”

Beside her husband’s attitude and sense of humor Jessica gains strength from the support the couple has received back home. On Friday friends organized a 5-K Glo Run that netted approximately $14,000.

“We have been amazed by everybody,” Jessica said. “The whole Tri-State has pulled together to help. My husband and I were talking about how wonderful that we live in the Tri-State area.” Jessica said. “Our employers have been amazing. They’re holding our jobs.”

Jessica is a dental hygienist with Dr. David Eller and Dr. Reginald Opimo.

Kelley’s employer, C.F. Reuschlein Jewelers, has donated a diamond pendant for a raffle along with a Rolex watch that the Swiss manufacturer has donated. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased at the Huntington jewelry store.

On Aug. 24 Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar in Huntington will donate 20 percent of that night’s proceeds to the Kelleys.  There will be a golf scramble on Sept. 28 at Twin Silos in Lavalette with $75 for a person or $300 for a team.

Also donations can be made at any Fifth-Third Bank.

“We honestly want to thank everyone for what they are doing. It is beyond our belief,” Jessica said. “We appreciate everything they have done”