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Callas crew installs ramp for area teen

October 11, 2007|By JANET HEIM

The noise of a construction crew working in front of their townhouse at 6 a.m. Wednesday was a welcome sound to Dori and Hayward Thaxton.

It meant that work on the ramp their 18-year-old daughter, Andrea Wimmer, now needs for accessibility to the family home in Londontowne had begun.

As soon as the concrete is dry, Wimmer will be able to once again take her 5-year-old sister, Haley, to the bus stop and outside to play.

Wimmer, a 2006 graduate of Linganore High School, was in a car accident on July 27 that left her paralyzed from the chest down.

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She was hospitalized at Washington County Hospital, then was transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia for therapy until Saturday, Oct. 6.

"It feels good to be home," Wimmer said.

A friend, Marcie McCarthy, called Callas Construction Co. and explained the family's need to replace the front steps with a ramp. Callas agreed to do the work at no charge.

"We wouldn't have been able to do this any time soon," Dori Thaxton said of the cost of the ramp construction.

Thaxton didn't tell her daughter of the plans for the ramp, but Wimmer spent the morning watching from the front door once she became aware of the project.

"It means I'll be able to get outside and go. I can take my little sister to the bus stop and take her to the park," Wimmer said.

The United Way of Washington County is having a ramp built from the sidewalk to the street for the United Way Day of Caring. A stair glide is being provided by From One Family to Another, a nonprofit in Sykesville, Md., so Wimmer can get up the stairs in their house.

The family moved to Hagerstown just after Wimmer graduated from high school. She was enrolled in the pre-nursing program at Hagerstown Community College and plans to return, although she'll probably change her major.

Even though Wimmer has been told she could still go into nursing, she wouldn't be satisfied not being as hands on as she'd like to. Instead, she's thinking of becoming a 911 dispatcher.

"I can't explain to you how generous from Day 1 everyone has been. It means getting her in the house. She needs to be an 18-year-old," Dori Thaxton said. "Her quality of life is so important to me. I want her to be able to do everthing she did before, just differently."

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