TEGA CAY Some blessings come wrapped in big red bows.
At least that’s how it happened for Larry, Melissa, Tyler and Logan Neely of Lancaster. The blessing rolled around the corner with a bow attached to its hood.
The Neely’s four-year-old son Logan has severe special needs and the family of four was without a vehicle that could transport them and Logan’s equipment.
Logan has LIS 1 gene mutation that makes him unable to walk, talk and eat. Because of the severity of his special needs, including frequent seizures, the family must travel with pieces of “just in case” equipment everywhere they go. Because Logan’s car seat cannot fit in the cars, it must be disassembled and put back together every time they travel.
But that all changed Tuesday night when All Things Possible Ministries presented the family with a 2014 Ford Flex, which has plenty of space to fit everything Logan needs.
Melissa, who left her job in December to care for Logan, cried. Larry, a Tega Cay police sergeant, had tears in his eyes.
“We can say thank you, but it’s not enough,” Melissa said.
Their lives won’t be the same – for good reason.
“We can go places now together, where before we couldn’t,” she said. “Logan can’t talk, but I know he appreciates it, because he won’t be scrunched up in the back seat.”
Volunteers with the ministry showed the Neely’s the inside of their new car and the space it provides.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with all that space,” said Melissa, before taking the car for a spin with son Tyler, 7. “I’ve never had that much space in a car.”
Larry, a man of few words with a humble air about him, said his family is “overwhelmed” with all the support from the community and that the Tega Cay police department has supported him and his family “one hundred and ten percent.”
When the Neely’s reached out to the ministry for help at the advising of their social worker, all they asked for was a special needs car seat. Because Logan cannot hold his head up for more than a minute at a time, a traditional car seat would not properly support him if there were a car accident. The car seat that Logan needs is $3,500 and is not covered by insurance.
When ministry officials visited the Neely’s home, they found the car situation and no wheelchair ramp, said Executive Director Lisa Sexton. They knew they had to do more.
“I just know that this is going to be so life changing for them,” Sexton said.
“We just wanted a car seat that he can be safe in,” Melissa said. “I never imagined all of this.”
A fundraiser at Tega Cay Children’s Academy raised $10,000.
“That has gone a long way to making this vehicle a reality,” Sexton said.
“This family has done a lot to serve and protect, so now it’s time to serve this family and protect this child and that’s what we’re doing,” she said. “They don’t know what the future holds for Logan. They’re living in the moment and just making the best situation they can for him.”
Kelly Lessard: firstname.lastname@example.org, @KellyLessardFMT