This is Carolina: Community rallies behind man paralyzed after helping neighbor

This is Carolina: Community rallies behind man paralyzed after helping neighbor
Jefferson, after his accident in September 2017. (Source: Jackie Grier)
Jefferson, after his accident in September 2017. (Source: Jackie Grier)
Jefferson with family. (Source: Jackie Grier)
Jefferson with family. (Source: Jackie Grier)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - "Cut a yard, go cut a tree, detail a car. Once one person call me first, that's the one I go to, you know. I would love everything I was doing, washing cars and doing yard work."

Jefferson Grier's days were spent avidly helping his neighbors in Socastee. Now, he sits in his living room and watches Ellen DeGeneres every day. It's become part of his routine since he became a quadriplegic.

"Everybody trust in me, wanting me to be like that doing stuff for them," Grier said.

In addition to helping out the community, Grier also said he loved his job at East End Industries, where he worked for 30 years.

Everything changed on Sept. 5, 2017 while he was cutting a tree down for a friend of a friend.

"The top of the limb come on down, and the pressure of the falling limb kicked me right off the tree," Grier said.

He was transported to Grand Strand Medical Center, and put in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator after falling 30 feet out of the tree. Grier's friends said he couldn't talk at first, and he underwent surgery for his spinal injuries.

The doctors had to place hardware on the front and back of his C4 and C5 vertebrae, his friends said.

"Every day I go up there, I'd pray over him. When I leave at night, I pray over him. When I get home, I pray, me and the kids," Grier's wife, Jackie, said.

Jackie was home when she got the call around 5:30 that Tuesday evening in September. She rushed to his side and knew it would be a long road.

But his friends and family also rushed to his side, and set up a Go Fund Me in his name to help with medical bills. All the years Grier spent helping his neighbors, now his community has come back to help him.

A family friend rallied the community together to get the money and application for the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. He went on Sept. 21. Grier's family believes it saved his life.

"This is the plan for him to be here today, because he could have been gone. I mean, people die from that kind of injury and that was a hard fall, but I thank God he's still here as he is," Jackie said.

Her husband agrees.

A man who couldn't talk or move when he first woke up from his surgery can do much more than he ever expected, especially just seven months after the accident.

"I seen my hand start getting better and better and I said, 'Oh man, my strength is coming back around.' It slowly coming. I know I see it a little bit and I'm going to push the rest and make a comeback," Grier said.

Therapists worked with him, and Jackie also stayed in Atlanta to adjust to her new life and learn how to properly take care of her husband.

Jackie once worked at a local hospital, but quit her job to tend to Grier.

"They come to the room and show him how to get dressed, show him how to brush his teeth," she said.

Grier worked tirelessly three days a week for four months in therapy at the Shepherd Center to learn movement again. The family came back to Socastee in January.

"I hate to put the weight on my wife and the kids. I'm trying hard not to do, you know. I'm trying to get up on my own, and if I can make that step, I'll be alright," Grier said.

The family takes him to therapy locally several days a week to keep working toward that first step, and the Socastee community hasn't left his side either.

"I won't go nowhere out the community unless I have to go, but this community is a real nice community. Everybody stick together, you know, with one another," Grier said.

His grandson, Kasey, has learned a lot about life as a fourth grader.

"I learned that he can't help himself so we got to help him," Kasey said.

He's also proud of how strong his grandfather's been through the ordeal, and looks forward to the day he can ride bikes with him again.

"He did a wheelie; no hands," Kasey said.

Jefferson Grier may not be doing wheelies by October, but he does plan to do something else big - walk his first step.

"Walk a little bit until I get stronger, then that second walk I'm stronger and that third walk I'll be able to run and play with the kids," he said, smiling.

For Grier, he just wants to mow his lawn again, but won't be doing more handy work around Socastee.

Despite all that's happened, Grier has kept his happy demeanor and said he blames no one for the terrible accident that happened to him.

"I'm a happy person anyway, and I just try to stay happy, you know," he said.

Grier called his family his ticket to keep going.

While he keeps trucking down the long road, the family is faced with a lot of medical expenses. In order to help, Jefferson Grier's family and friends set up a Go Fund Me account to help. They're also hosting a Chick-fil-A fundraiser at the restaurant on S.C. 544 in Surfside Beach on Wednesday, April 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.

For those who want to help, click here.

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