ENGLEWOOD — Teri Hagerty still tears up when she thinks about the outpouring of support the Englewood community gave her father.
William “Doc” Williams was presented with a replacement motorized wheelchair courtesy of Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office on Friday. His previous chair was stolen Monday.
“We were just overwhelmed at just the thought of goodness and charity in people’s hearts,” Hagerty said. “We actually had four people call and offer chairs.”
Hagerty had to leave the previous chair, valued at $6,000, at the corner of Edmonton and Euston avenues after its battery died while she was using it to walk her dog. Hagerty used the chair on occasion due to her back injuries.
An anonymous donor gave a chair to the CCSO after hearing about Williams.
“In this particular case, the donor’s daughter suffers from primary lateral sclerosis and it’s advanced to such a stage where she can no longer use the wheelchair,” said Sheriff Bill Prummell. “(The donor) was actually going to sell it at a garage sale,” but then saw the story.
Prummell read a statement from the donor.
“She wrote, ‘I felt it was the Lord sending me a message giving me an opportunity to pay it forward,’ Prummell said. “We thank her so much for what she did.” Prummell said a deputy picked the chair up from the donor.
Williams said he was grateful for all the support. His letter of appreciation will be delivered through the CCSO to the donor.
“I see all these people here and everyone taking a little time to get the story out,” Williams said. “I think that it’s important that the sheriff’s department be recognized for what they do and for all of us. I want to thank Dale (Phillips, civilian crime prevention specialist) for her work. She’s called me several times and so has the detective. So I’m really thankful for all that. It’s not all about me.”
Williams said the new chair is more portable, less bulky, and lighter than his last one.
“I think it’s so wonderful and very generous and especially very touching, knowing a very little circumstances,” Hagerty said. “Knowing that she has a daughter with a degenerative disorder and to think that going through that personal trauma, she had the thought of someone else. That is very touching. If she was here, we’d hug her, bless her and thank her so much.”
Debbie Bowe, CCSO spokeswoman, said the case is still under investigation.
A witness reportedly saw a white pickup with three adult white males slow down near the chair, which is a Golden Technologies Compass model. The driver was described as having short dark hair, and his two younger passengers had blond hair, one dark and the other light.
Anyone with information is asked to call the CCSO at 941-639-2101, or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).