It’s a story of inspiration and an outpouring of community support. It started with video we showed you of a former volunteer reserve officer from Fort Worth trying to mow his lawn — in his wheelchair. Since then, the story is much different and it’s all thanks to you. News 8 was overwhelmed with e-mails from viewers who wanted to help.
On Tuesday, landscaping crews and their kids spent the entire day cleaning the yard of Ron McClanahan. It’s a little bit that has gone a long way. McClanahan hasn’t had this many visitors at one time in years.
“Perfect strangers from over 30 miles away are coming to help out, that feels good,” said McClanahan.
Our first story left a lasting impression with so many of our viewers. They watched McClanahan as he struggled to mow his yard in his wheelchair. It reminded Jeremy Guevara of his mother, a double amputee.
“I saw it and I realized that a lot that there are a lot of people out there that have it a lot worse than we do,” said Guevara.
The landscaper now plans to mow McClanahan’s yard every two weeks. And he’s not doing it alone. His 10-year-old son and his partner’s 9-year-old daughter are helping, too.
“They have me cutting the little branches off the big ones,” said 10-year-old Elijah Ballesteros.
But as people came to help, they found out McClanahan needed more than just yard work.
“He gets up on the roof and sees roof damage. And I get up this morning, and find out my water heater’s quit,” said McClanahan.
McClanahan applied for several programs since our first story aired. He was told he didn’t qualify for weatherization or free exterior painting. The city is now helping him apply for other housing rehab programs.
“In fact, today he’s working with them on some money, to see if we can get him both the financing and contractors to do some work on the property there,” said Brandon Bennett, the director of Fort Worth Code Compliance.
So until community outreach employees get this all worked out, McClanahan still has a little help, at least during summer break.
“I think we’ll come back out here again,” said 9-year old Jessica Guevara.
While viewers and other friends are working to meet McClanahan’s short term need, the city said it will continue to find a solution for his long term needs.
News 8 viewers help former volunteer officer
WFAA Staff, WFAA.com 10:51 a.m. CDT October 19, 2009