I heard an inspiring story on the news this morning that I just had to share, since it's a nice change from the steady stream of depressing news stories that seem to bombard us on a daily basis. 22-year-old Collin Smith recently graduated from college. This takes hard work and is an accomplishment for any student, especially for Collin since he's a quadriplegic. He was in a car accident eight years ago when he was 14 and has been paralyzed from the chest down ever since.
Ernest Greene, who is now 72, had just retired as an engineer when Collin had his accident. Although he'd never met Collin, he felt "a calling" to reach out to Collin after he heard about his situation through a prayer request at the church they belonged to. Greene called Collin's family, talked to his overwhelmed, working parents and offered his services. [I love how Greene saw a need and stepped in without anyone having to say anything.]
Through four years of high school, Greene drove Collin to and from school every day, attending every class with him, taking notes for him and assisting him with whatever he needed help with. When Collin went to college, Greene went with him. He put in long days, leaving his home before dawn to get to Collin's house by 6 AM. He would then get Collin out of bed, ready for school and then make the 45-minute drive to campus. He'd put in a full day at school, including pushing Collin 3 miles (or more) each day. [As a fellow quadriplegic, I can vouch for how much work/planning goes into going out. It wasn't just going to class with Collin, it was that in addition to all of the hours of physical care day after day that makes this amazing story even more inspiring.]
Despite major obstacles, Collin graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in communications and minor in sports management. When it was time for Collin to accept his diploma, it was Greene who pushed him across the stage. "I'd been pushing him around campus for four years," Green said. "I wanted to push him up to get his diploma." The real surprise came when Greene was given his own honorary diploma.
Collin and Ernest came to be known around campus as a "package deal," and have remarked that they have a unique relationship that's hard to describe. Collin said, "You just can't describe what we mean to each other." [I love how they came to be known as a "package deal." I can relate, because my mom and I are also a package deal. If anyone ever comes along that's interested in either of us, they better realize that they're getting both of us, because we're sticking together!]