Sometimes in life’s darkest moments a light shines out, illuminating a path from despair to hope.
For Nick Hall the light emanated from the host of friends and colleagues who rushed to help him after a motorcycle accident left him with severe brain injuries, in a wheelchair and unable to speak.
They found him a temporary place to stay after he left the hospital, and they are furiously remodeling his mother’s modest Catlettsburg home for handicap accessibility.
Friends, associates and businesses are donating money and materials for the remodeling, which will add a spacious bedroom, a handicap-equipped bathroom and a deck to Vicki Hall’s home.
Hall was critically injured in September while riding his motorcycle with friends. A deer ran in front of him and he lost control, landing on his head.
Emergency physicians told his mother not to hold out much hope. He underwent five brain surgeries. “I knew God wouldn’t take Nicky,” Vicki Hall said.
A later prognosis was he would be paralyzed, but he can move his feet and walk with assistance. He cannot talk, but is alert and appears to understand when others talk to him; he chuckled and smiled when he heard his brother’s voice on a cellphone and met a visitor’s gaze when spoken to in his temporary apartment at Grandview Manor. He bumps fists with Catlettsburg Mayor Randall Peterman, an old friend.
He is there by the efforts of Peterman, who smoothed the way at the Grandview after hospital officials released Hall last week. At the time, his mother’s house didn’t have the space or accessibility fittings to accommodate him.
Peterman started working the phones and soon the donations and offers of help started coming in.
Peterman and Vicki Hall both say that’s the way Gate City people are. “It’s a small town with a big heart,” she said. “We’ve lived here 34 years. This is the first time we’ve needed anything and they came through.”
Being a small town in this case is an advantage because everybody knows everybody else, Peterman said.
A purchaser for State Electric Supply Co., Hall is well known in the business community as well.
By Friday, the house addition was taking shape and two friends, Don Boyd and Randy Blanton, were busy with drywall work. Volunteer craftsmen have roughed in the plumbing and electrical system and friends like Boyd and Blanton are putting in four or five hours a day to complete the job.
“It means a lot to know you can help someone who is down and out and really needs the help.” Blanton said.
The goal is to complete the job so the Halls don’t owe anything on the house, they said.
Vicki Hall said she wants to keep her son with her while he recuperates and is holding out hope for a substantial recovery. “I say he’ll get better,” she said. “God says he will.”
MIKE JAMES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2652.