JEFFERSON, Ga. - On Thursday, four years after a terrible accident on the football field left Southern University player Devon Gales paralyzed, he finally moved into a new home built specially for him.
Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes has been following Gales' story since the accident first happened at a game against University of Georgia in 2015.
I couldn’t tweet bc the signal wasn’t great while I’ve been @IAmDevonGales house all day - so I’m Gona pour it on strong right now. Here’s a look at the front of his new handicapped accessible home pic.twitter.com/eb5kqAEeXf— Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) July 11, 2019
Gales suffered a spinal injury during a collision with former Bulldogs kicker Marshall Morgan. Gales was paralyzed from the waist down.
On Thursday, Channel 2 Action News was the only news station go inside the Jackson County home built for Gales and his family.
It’s been 4 yrs since @IAmDevonGales was injured while playing a college FB game @universityofga TODAY he moves into his new home that’s been designed just for him & his family. We’re the only station taking you inside for the big reveal pic.twitter.com/wFTl1wr0iB— Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) July 11, 2019
The Gales family got a warm welcome Thursday when they pulled up to the new home in a quiet subdivision near where Gales now works as an assistant high school football coach.
Multiple organizations and donors and nearly 100 subcontractors came together to build the handicap-accessible house, which was promised to Gales after the accident.
There were some bumps along the road that left the family split between Georgia and Louisiana, but its dream of being united in one home together finally came true.
"On behalf of Dawg Nation, I want to give you the keys to your new home," an organizer said and handed Gales the keys.
When the front doors opened, members of the Gales family couldn't believe their eyes. Fernandes saw the overjoyed looks on the faces of Gales and his family members as they toured the home, which had custom details and spaces carved out for each person.
The detail that went into this home is amazing. This portrait is in their dining room. Remember, while the family waited 4 yrs for this new home, they were split up. Half in LA Half in GA. This picture symbolizes their strength for getting through it all 💛 pic.twitter.com/3NvM2eItZ7— Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) July 11, 2019
"I'm just happy," Gales said. I have my own space. My mama has her own space. My brother, my daddy, we all have our own area now."
This was my exclusive interview with @IAmDevonGales His bedroom is just perfect for him. He is so grateful today. For the first time - he was even speechless at one point - he’s NEVER been speechless with me. What a guy... pic.twitter.com/2YC5QnBgyC— Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) July 11, 2019
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The entire first floor, including a rehabilitation room, a bedroom decorated with jerseys and a bathroom with a special shower, are all for Gales. Builders made sure there's no obstruction for his wheelchair.
Gales said the new, wheelchair-accessible home is especially important for him.
"It's going to give me a lot more independence," Gales said. "Just to be able to get that back, that's a big different for me and I think that's a big stepping stone that I needed."
Morgan, the football player who collided with Gales, even showed up for the big reveal with his newborn son. Since the accident, the two former players have become good friends.
When @MarshallM13 showed up with his newborn son, it was a great moment. Marshall made the tackle that injured @IAmDevonGales in 2015, since then, they’ve become great friends. Watching them interact is a beautiful thing. pic.twitter.com/siYzxuIm5Y— Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) July 11, 2019
Gales told Fernandes the four-year wait was worth it.
"I"m just overwhelmed by everything," Gales said. "So many people have put their hands into this, and I'm grateful for everything."
Even the backyard is ready for the Gales family to entertain. There is a huge fire pit and lots of space to gather.
There's even a huge Georgia Bulldogs icon right in the middle of the backyard.
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