Families Come Together in a Time of Need

by Jessica Cervantez

The story is about a young man who was going along day to day living a normal life when "BAM" his life was turned upside down in a matter of seconds. It is the injury of two teenagers, a foundation, and a van that is helping some East Texas families get through tough times.

15-year-old O'Neal Mitchell's life was turned upside down after a football injury. Today, he is paralyzed from the neck down.

Mitchell said, "I went to make a tackle and somebody came from behind and hit me. It has been kind of hard on me, but you know, I just deal with it."

But O'Neal keeps high spirits and a good attitude.

"I will be back on my feet in about seven or eight months," Mitchell said.

Shayvon Jenkins, his nurse, said, "He looks forward to doing everything that he used to do, he's just a good kid, I wouldn't trade this job for anything in the world. He is sweet and I love working with him."

Mitchell said, "I think she os absolutely right, I do have it going on."

O'Neal's humor help's the family get through the tough time.

He is also getting help from carpenters. They are building an addition which will give his family more living space. They are also adding a handicap accessible ramp.

Now, the "BAM" foundation, which helps handicapped children and their families, has a gift, too. The foundation is named after Brent Adam Miller, who suffered a gunshot wound.

Glenn Miller, BAM president and founder, said, "I was coming back yesterday from the school, and I saw this van and I stopped and asked the gentleman if he would be interested in letting our foundation purchase the van on a month to month basis."

Martin Metzner, the van owner, said, "We have a child who has handicapped problems, and I feel when people ask if you can do a little then do a little."

The "BAM" foundation, out of the Tyler area, doesn't take money, they will pay the $2,000 van a different way.

Miller said, "We started the foundation and continue with the collection of aluminum cans. And that's how we'll purchase the van, we've come a long way, but we still need a lot more help."

As O'Neal's mother receives the keys she says there are no words.

Alice Russell said, "I just feel blessed, a lot of people don't have the support we have."

Brent Adam Miller, the reason for the "BAM" foundation, said, "There's other people that are worse off and that need help. We were lucky enough to find a van, might as well help other people find stuff that they need to do."

Which goes to show that when times are tough, it is the generosity of people that can help you through the day.