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Volunteers work to make Montreat coach's return home a little easier

As Britten Olinger recovers in Atlanta's Shepherd Center, volunteers are working on the Montreat College track coach's home, trying to make his transition a little easier. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

As Britten Olinger recovers in Atlanta's Shepherd Center, volunteers are working on the Montreat College track coach's home, trying to make his transition a little easier.

Olinger was involved in a high-speed crash in February that has left him in a wheelchair. His family once feared he would be completely paralyzed, but Olinger is moving one arm now, and he's learning how to pick things up with his right hand.

If everything goes as expected, Olinger will be coming home by the end of the summer. And volunteers plan to have his home wheelchair accessible.

RELATED | Montreat coach Olinger working his way back from horrific crash

For two men, it is a labor of love.

"So, I used to be a firefighter for the town of Black Mountain," Eddie Colley said. "So, when the wreck happened, a lot of people were calling me and texting me."

Colley is a broker for Keller Williams Realty, but Thursday he was a handyman moved by the images of Olinger's horrible crash.

"I didn't even know Britten or his family. I just thought how would I want the community to respond if it were me or my wife or one of my children," Colley said.

Colley and others have asked what they can do to help the Olinger family.

"The following day, we put up banners at work. Started collecting for him there," said Mike Shoaf, who passed through the same intersection just moments before the crash.

Montreat College's director of facilities now spends his evenings renovating the Olinger's home.

"I don't know. I felt like 30 seconds earlier that could have been me," Shoaf said. "So, three hours after work every day I'm here."

The floor in the Olinger home have to be strong enough to hold the coach and his temporary wheelchair, which will weigh about 600 pounds.

Keller Williams has designated the Olinger home one of it's Red Day projects, with workers volunteering and donating to give back to their community.

"I knew they were going to need a lot of stuff, and I thought surely we're going to be able to do something on Red Day for the Olinger family," Shoaf said.

A lot more work needs to be done and more supplies and donations are also needed.

If you’d like to donate, click here or e-mail michael.shoaf@montreat.edu. You can also write checks to Olinger's sister NancyQuesenberry and mail them to: Nancy Quesenberry, PO Box 2188, Pulaski, VA 24301.

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