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Injured man getting closer to coming home

Working as out-patient at rehab center


PROCTORVILLE — This week John Paul Kelley was scheduled to leave the in-patient section of the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., and start taking outpatient therapy.

“It is to prepare us to go home,” Jessica Kelley, John Paul’s wife, said in a phone interview from Atlanta.

In late June, Kelley of Proctorville was swimming at a friend’s pool when he was in an accident that damaged his spinal cord. That has left him paralyzed from the chest down, including being unable to use his hands.

Since July 1, Kelley has worked six hours a day five days a week in physical therapy at the center that deals in spinal cord injuries.

“He is a lot stronger,” Jessica said. “He hasn’t regain much, but what he has regained has been a lot stronger.”

One goal right now for the husband and father of a 4-month-old daughter is to get out of his motorized wheelchair into a manual chair.

“He can brush his teeth now with adaptive devices,” Jessica said.

Even in doing that, he still cannot move his hands and arms.

Since the accident the Tri-State community has organized a number of fundraisers to help the Kelley family with medical expenses and the cost to remodel their home to accommodate the wheelchair and other adaptive devices Kelley will need.

A recent 5K run brought in approximately $40,000 and a golf scramble for Kelley is set for Sept. 28 at Twin Silos Golf Course. Also donations can be made at any Fifth-Third Bank.

“We couldn’t widen the hallways in our house so we had to add on an addition with a bigger bedroom to be more accessible,” Jessica said.

Two family friends who do construction are handling the project.

“They have been lifesavers,” Jessica said. “We are ready to come home.”