(Cover image photo credit Nicole W Photography)
On September 26, 2015, during a football game between Southern University and The University of Georgia, Southern receiver Devon Gales collided with UGA placekicker Marshall Morgan during a kickoff return in the second half, breaking Gales’ neck and paralyzing him from the waist down. Though Devon’s family of five changed in ways we can’t even imagine, they have maintained a positive spirit that has won over the hearts of the Bulldog nation and many in the business community, including Harbin Lumber.
After nearly three years of struggle, the dream of building a wheelchair-accessible home that is both affordable and suitable is close to becoming a reality for the Gales family. The former Louisiana family will finally be able to make a permanent move to Georgia where Devon can get the treatment he needs at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, and his father, who has remained behind at his job in Baton Rouge, can be reunited with his family.
The first major breakthrough came when former University of Georgia player Whit Marshall, now CEO of Paran Homes, donated the largest, flattest lot in Traditions of Braselton, chosen by the Gales family, for the build. Currahee Home Builders’ Mike Elrod, along with Mark Lanham, joined in to manage the Build for Devon project, and as a long-time customer of Harbin Lumber, approached our Athens team for help.
“Our answer was absolutely – we are all in,” said Todd Lord, GM of Harbin Lumber’s Athens location. Harbin Lumber has provided building materials and partnered with long-time vendors such as Pella Windows and Huber Engineered Woods to obtain more building supplies, warehouse them and truck materials to the build site.
The Gales family’s new home will include more space to allow the ability to maneuver around in a wheelchair and will also include a therapy room, outfitted with equipment similar to what is at the Shepherd Center, where Devon can continue his rehabilitation at home.
Devon’s mother Tish had this to say on the 3-year anniversary of Devon’s accident, “Although tragedy struck, triumph encompassed the circumstances! I continue to be eternally grateful to God for all that he has done and continues to do in our lives!”