Before an on-duty motorcycle accident left him wheelchair bound, Cpl. Gene Crawford spent 29 years serving and protecting the citizens of Smyrna, but now it’s his turn to receive a helping hand. Crawford’s home is receiving much needed renovations to make it wheelchair accessible through grants from The Home Depot Foundation. A team of The Home Depot’s associates completed the renovation Friday.
. The police officer sustained two broken ankles, a broken leg and a fractured pelvis after he was struck by a car when the driver failed to yield when turning onto South Cobb Drive.
Smyrna’s Public Information Officer Michael Smith said Crawford acted bravely in the situation. Despite his serious injuries he managed to radio for help.
“I was working that day and you could hear in his voice,” he said. “You knew he was hurt and he was hurt bad. He wasn’t out on a traffic stop so we didn’t know where he was. He had to give his location, which he did, and we were able to get there fairly quickly.”
Crawford is still recovering from his injuries, but his Powder Springs home is not wheelchair accessible. The Smyrna Public Safety Foundation, a 501 c3 nonprofit aimed at supporting Smyrna’s public safety officers, heard about Crawford’s dilemma and sprang to action.
SPSF Chairman Mike Watson shared Crawford’s story with The Home Depot Foundation, the home improvement store’s philanthropic arm. SPSF was awarded grants to renovate the home and a team of associates from the Vinings store volunteered to complete the project.
Initially the project just included a bathroom renovation, but Assistant Store Manager Shawn Groebner thought he and his team could do more.
“The main project revolved around a bathroom that would be suitable for him while he’s going to be in a wheelchair till January or February,” he said. “But as we got involved in the project we wanted to do more. For a man who has given 29 years of his life to the City of Smyrna we felt that a small gesture of our gratitude would be to do something extra for him.”
Groebner and his team of store associates removed the carpet and installed laminate flooring so Crawford could navigate the room in a wheelchair, built a standing shower, widened doorways for wheelchair access and painted the room’s wood paneling.
Crawford’s wife Wanda is delighted by the help her family has received.
“He had a hard time,” she said. “Of course he couldn’t get in the bathroom, couldn’t get in the shower. Home Depot and Smyrna Public Safety Foundation made it possible for him to get in the bathroom and just brightened up the whole room. They came in and put new ceiling lights up for us as well. They just came in and redid the whole downstairs for us.”
The team plans to wrap up the project Friday. Crawford still has a long road to recovery, but Wanda Crawford said doctor’s estimate her husband may be ready for light duty by January 2013.