Flagler County, FL – Stephen Watkins, a 6-year veteran of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) who is recovering from a life-threatening illness, received a check for $1000 from Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly and Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith.
The Florida Deputy Sheriff’s Association’s ‘Lend a Hand’ program, which seeks to assist its members with life challenges, made the donation possible.
Watkins grew ill from an infection that attacked his spine in August 2016 and required hospitalization, surgeries and ongoing physical rehabilitation. He was left paralyzed from the chest down and now uses a wheelchair.
A non-profit group called Paws of War is training Watkins’ 4-year-old lab-pit mix, Mya, to be a service dog. Mya assists Watkins at home and accompanies him to stores and therapy sessions.
“She can open the refrigerator door for me if I want something,” said Watkins. “I can just wheel up, get what I want and shut the door.”
In addition to the generous donation, Watkins has a new job as a communications specialist for the Flagler County Communications Center, which he says has given him purpose.
Sheriff Staly told Watkins, “I hope this helps you make the changes that you need at your home. I know you’re working hard to learn your new job. And we’re not done raising money.”
A fundraising event is scheduled Sunday, March 26, at Cue Note Billiard Room in Palm Coast, from 3-9 PM, offering unlimited billiards, appetizers and a beverage to help raise money to renovate Watkins home. The event is sponsored by Lowe’s, The Coastal Florida PBA, the FCSO, and the Flagler Beach and Bunnell police departments.
To donate, please write a check to The Coastal Florida PBA, 810, Fentress Ct., Suite 150, Daytona Beach. Ref: Stephen Watkins Fund. You may also visit the Palm Coast Lowe’s and see Emey Miranda, kitchen project specialist, to purchase items needed to complete the home-remodel project.
For more information on Paws of War, visit pawsofwar.org.
For more information on the Lend a Hand program, visit FlDeputySheriffs.org.
Photos courtesy of the FCSO and Paws of War.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.