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Community Responds to Coach Gary DeBoy's Time of Need

Photos By Alex Stillwagon

Volunteers at work on Coach DeBoy's home.
Volunteers at work.

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

July 21, 2004 -- Community spirit is helping former Jacksonville State University Rifle Coach Gary DeBoy, who suffered a spinal cord injury in a fall at his home that left him unable to walk or use his hands. Coach Gary DeBoy
Volunteers who pitched in to build a 500-square-foot addition to the DeBoy home included friends from Westside Baptist Church and JSU along with even a few strangers who felt moved to help.

Hammers have swung and saws have sung out on Pointer Street as the group of mostly retirees and Mr. DeBoy's co-workers labored each morning. Inside, their friend, whom they call "Coach DeBoy," lies in bed. He thinks about the contributions his friends have made.

"It is great," he said. "This is wonderful."

Volunteers at work.Community members have been raising money since spring for their friend who, though bedridden, is volunteering time to help the athletic department schedule their rifle competitions. JSU's athletic director, Jim Fuller, was among those who volunteered to build the addition.

Coach DeBoy's hospital bed takes up most of the space in the living room in the house he shares with his wife, a daughter, and a grandchild. His wheelchair sits just inside the front door, but the doorways inside the home are too narrow for its use.

"This addition," said Mr. Neal Estes, "will be for Coach DeBoy's use. It will be an exercise room and a 12-by-12-foot bathroom."

An anonymous donor gave the family a wheelchair lift for the new porch. Local construction companies donated time, labor, and materials. Other companies discounted supplies. Labor for the addition cost nothing, thanks to the volunteer workers. Individuals and churches donated money, and a car show in June raised $2,000. About $18,000 has been raised——$2,000 short of the $20,000 needed, but enough to get the addition started.

Coach DeBoy, who finished his in-hospital rehabilitation in early summer, has been contacted by JSU's Dan Miller, director of Disability Support Services, to offer more help.

Money or labor can still be donated toward the project by calling Rev. Truman Norred at 435-4335; Odis Brown, 435-6739; Gary Dempsey, 435-9032; or Neal Estes, 435-4654.

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