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Fund established for man who needs wheelchair van

March 24, 2000



How you can help




Send contributions to the Kelly Deater Fund,

Home Federal Savings Bank

Kelly Deater Fund

122-128 W. Washington St.

P.O. Box 1179

Hagerstown, Md. 21741-1179

Account number: 21456437

By MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

With community support, Jeff Wilson hopes to buy one of his friends some freedom.

The Hagerstown resident set up a fund at Home Federal Savings Bank for Kelly Deater, a Frederick, Md., man he met through one of Deater's aides. He's hoping to raise $24,000 by the end of this month for a wheelchair van for Deater, whose neck was broken in an accident.

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"Something inside of me said 'I need to help him,' " says Wilson, 37.

On April 17, 1998, Deater was on his way to work at Noah Electric in Frederick when his truck was struck on U.S. 15 by a Jeep that swerved to miss another car. Deater's vehicle hit an embankment and he was partially ejected, Wilson says.

The driver of the Jeep was killed, and Deater was left paralyzed from the neck down.

Deater, 38, was in Washington County Hospital for 23 days, then spent five months at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J. While there, Deater says he was taught how to teach others to care for him.

Among those who provide 24-hour care for Deater are his sisters, Beth Scott and Linda Deater of Frederick, and employees of Helping Hands Medical Services Inc., which has offices in Frederick and Chambersburg, Pa.

Scott is his primary caregiver, helping get him to medical appointments and administering his medications. Employees of Helping Hands assist with household chores, meal preparation and with improving Deater's range of motion.

Deater has physical therapy appointments in Hagerstown twice a week. He has to pay a medical transportation company to get him there.

He also has to pay the company to take him to occasional services at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Mount Airy, Md.

"I have my good days and my bad days," Deater says.

The time he spends at Robinwood Medical Center in physical rehabilitation, "That's a good day," he says. Among the exercises he does are pool workouts that include the backstroke and vertical balancing near the edge of the pool.

"The muscles that didn't work before are slowly coming to life," Deater says.

Occupational therapists come to his home to teach him job skills other than those he had as an electrician. Right now he's dabbling in computers.

Deater welcomes Wilson's efforts.

"I'm quite happy about it," says Deater of the fund drive. "I'd like to get out of this house. I'd like to try out other churches."

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