MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – This is a story about people. In this case, people are coming together to help a very special man.
Meet Lorenzo Rhynes.
He has friends.
“It’s a blessing,” he says. “No doubt. No doubt.”
Lorenzo is a prisoner, trapped inside a body that is failing. It is slowly robbing him of the ability to express his feelings. Speaking and being understood is difficult for him.
“Cerebellum degeneration,” says Selena Silvestro of Little Helpers. “It’s progressed over the past five or six years. It impacts balance and motor skills, and speech. But still sharp as a tack and he remembers things better than I do. He has a sense of humor that is spot on.”
A few years ago, the Little Helpers group were able to fix Lorenzo’s roof and give him a handicapped accessible bathroom.
Now they are putting in new flooring. Wheelchairs have trouble plowing through old carpets.
These guys are with Memphis Flooring, who agreed to do this job.
“For Lorenzo, this is a huge job,” says Memphis Flooring’s Troi Fink. “It’s going to help him be able to get around a lot easier, be able to get around his kitchen a lot easier. And we’re just happy to be able to do this.”
Lorenzo still has a firm handshake, and when he meets you, he is genuinely glad to meet you. He doesn’t dwell on his disabilities.
“It’s a dream come true to fix up a home with volunteers from this community,” says Silvestro of Little Helpers. “We made a lot of new friends.”
Lorenzo wanted to thank them. His disease wouldn’t allow the words to come out.
He tried to speak, balled his fists up, and brought them down hard on his wheelchair.
Lorenzo tried again and couldn’t do it. He started to cry.
A strong man trapped by disease who now has new friends.
He says he’s lucky.