Community helps Knox County man regain mobility after losing walker

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KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knox County man was given the gift of mobility this Christmas, thanks to the efforts and donations from people he didn’t even know.

John Straney relies on his walker to get around, but it flew out of the back of his truck on Christmas Eve morning, leaving him without it.

His wife, Janet, took to social media, asking for help. Her post caught the attention of total strangers, who made sure John received a vital gift in the season of giving.

“I might be able to walk a few feet but after that no, I’ll probably fall. It’s very painful to try without the walker,” John Straney said.

You can imagine his devastation when, on Christmas Eve morning at his dialysis treatment appointment, John Straney realized his walker wasn’t where he left it.

“I was on the road at 4, and when I got to dialysis I had a walker in my truck, and when I got there it wasn’t there. Somehow it flew out of my truck,” he said.

His community would not let the season of giving slip by without giving him the gift he needed most.

“There is a lot of people that have a lot of issues and problems, and I just felt like how can we help,” said Captain Aaron Yarnell with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Yarnell spearheaded the effort after he saw a social media post by John’s wife calling for help.

“Here it is Christmas Eve, and we’re worried about what time we’re going to take the turkey out of the oven, and this poor gentlemen is having to go to dialysis treatment,” Yarnell said.

His patrolmen found the walker smashed to pieces on I-640. Yarnell started a GoFundMe campaign, raising enough money and buying John a new one in just a matter of hours.

“I had one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had,” John said.

Now, John and Janet Straney can’t make their gratitude any more clear, and Captain Yarnell is encouraging others to pay it forward.

“If you can help them, help them. Social media can be a good thing if you utilize it in the right ways,” Yarnell said.

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