Abilities Foundation Helps Those in Need
On his drive home from work, two weeks before Christmas in 2007, John Berg, III felt dizzy. He stopped at his doctor's office where it was determined he was having a stroke. In the hospital, doctors said the stroke had begun in his brain stem, leaving John, at age 33, unable to move, speak or breathe on his own, but he could feel pain.
His wife Mindy told their two sons that their dad was sick and was going to a place to feel better and would be home soon. Mindy was a sales assistant for a cable-advertising firm in Pinellas Park. After a month of treatment, much surgery, and pneumonia scare, John returned home and Mindy became his primary caretaker. The Berg's parents began taking care of the boys. Mindy's mom quit her job in Plainville, NC and moved here to help.
Once an outdoorsman who loved fishing the Anclote River and watching football, John spends his days sitting in his living room confined to a wheelchair. His sons still plan fishing trips they'll take when he is all better. He used to sit on their porch outside near the boys' swing set. Because of the stares from people passing by, he does not go out there anymore.
Frank Essex, store manager of Seminole Home Depot, was approached in April by a neighbor of John's father, while both were at an award ceremony for Mr. Essex's daughter at Brooker Creek Elementary. Mr. Essex was told that the Berg family needed help to get an emergency generator in case their power went out during a hurricane, as John needed electrical suction to keep his airway clear. He wondered if the store had one to spare. After meeting with the family, Mr. Essex called corporate headquarters in Atlanta to explain a backyard project.
The Abilities Foundation President, Frank DeLucia, became the local partner of the project, administering the grant from the Home Depot Foundation. On July 15th, 24 volunteers met at the Berg's house with supplies donated from Home Depot to the Abilities Foundation to build a ramp with railing in the backyard that wrapped around oak trees and connected to the boys' playroom; build a privacy fence and plant new grass and plants. There was also an emergency generator donated so the family never has to worry about electrical loss.
The Abilities Foundation fulfilled its mission of helping those with disabilities by partnering with the very generous Home Depot, making life more livable for those with disabilities.
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