Letter: Laverne and Brent Debnam thank community for outpouring of support

My son Brent, who is 22, is a quadriplegic living with cerebral palsy and osteoporosis. Brent and I wanted to let you know how thankful we are for the recent outpouring of love and support coming from our Laurel community. We are writing this letter to "thank" our Laurel community for embracing us.

We live on Laurel Avenue and have lived in our home since 1995. The house is on one level about 890 square feet and not accessible to Brent who is in an electric wheelchair. He is unable to access the bathroom, kitchen and limited space in his bedroom. Although Brent has a medical diagnosis he has never complained about his condition; to the contrary if you know him he has the talent to inspire and uplift others.

Over the years from lifting Brent, I have had many back, neck and hand sprains to the point I am now unable to lift Brent. We have not had adequate nursing care and so I have done my best to manage his needs. Most recently when his mentor, Tony Glaros, learned that I had injured myself again and that Brent was sleeping in his wheelchair because I could not lift him, Tony and Mike and Ruth Walls came out to assist me so that I did not have to lift Brent. This assistance began at the end of February and this effort has continued and grown into a community outpouring of love and compassion for Brent and myself.

Through Brent's friends I was invited to Bethany Community Church and our family of friends grew again where many people have embraced us and helped us with many activities I used to do alone. On this journey I have also met and received the support of County Councilwoman Mary Lehman, City Councilwoman Valerie Nicholas and a host of other local officials all willing to assist in any way that they can. These efforts have grown into a project called "In Your Own Backyard." This project will assist with making home modifications to our house so that it will be completely accessible for Brent. With home modifications Brent would be able to get equipment such as a Hoyer Lifter to lift him from bed to wheelchair, a gait walker where he could walk around his home and a roll-in shower where he would no longer have to get bed-side bathing. The first fundraiser, one of many to happen, occurred on Monday, July 16, 2012 at the Salute Restaurant on Main Street. The event was hosted by Bethany Community Church and Patrons for Peace. It was a great success causing our family to grow again.

I want to thank each and every person who came out to support us, and those who made contributions that I am not aware of, for their concern and care. Please continue to support us. My prayer is that you each are blessed exceedingly for your outreach.

Laverne and Brent Debnam


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