He Gave To His Country, Now Others Are Giving To Him

UPDATE (4/1/2014): So many of you reached out, we’re happy to say the family can now pay for the special track wheelchair! Anything left over will be put toward a roll-in shower or a specially outfitted van. The Wollneys are very grateful.

(WREG-TV) Our Pass It On gift was $900 again this week, thanks to a former play maker from months ago, named Sandra Martin.

She dropped off a check for $300 out of the blue, matching the amount WREG pitches in.

Plus, $300 more is donated every week from our anonymous doctor in Collierville.

Our play maker this week is Brittney Nelson.

“I’ve known Brandy since our second year in high school. We’ve been friends ever since. Her husband Tom was injured in the military.”

Tom Wollney wasn’t just injured, his body is giving up.

Extreme and repeated trauma from more than 20 years as a combat air rescue swimmer has led to a neurological disease that’s progressing fast.

Not long ago, a guy who was once jumping out of helicopters to save lives could get around with his cane.

Now he needs a wheelchair, and the left side of his body is virtually paralyzed.

The prognosis is that it will only get worse – not exactly what a 40-year-old father with five kids ranging in age from 1 to 14 should be dealing with.

“He can’t get on the floor and play with his kids. He can’t swing his girls up high and love on his kids like a father should. We’re hoping to raise enough money to get him a wheelchair so he can be more mobile.”

Brittney says the special track wheelchair would at least allow Tom to be out in the yard or ride on the beach, but it costs $10,000.

Like so many of our military, despite deployments all over the world and moving his wife and kids at least nine times, from Maine to Hawaii, Tom is humbled by Brittney’s generosity.

Tom is looking at other expenses as well, including a wheelchair lift and a special bed, yet he shows not the slightest sign of a “poor me” attitude.

He has great sense of humor and a great family, and we wish them the best.

If you’d like to help, please email richard.ransom@wreg.com