The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 21, 2013

Answering prayers: Women endeavor to give gift of mobility

By Rebecca Croomes

— Susie Clark believes if God brings you to it, he’ll see you through it.

This belief sustained her efforts as she and Meg Masica partnered to find a van to give to the Witherow family of Ardmore, who suffered a tragedy in December when their son Robert was stricken with a series of seizures that have left him wheelchair-bound and semi-conscious.

Clark is a family friend of the Witherows, her son played baseball with Robert, who remained on their team after his hospital stay. She noticed the difficulty the family faced when trying to get the child in and out of their SUV at the ball field one day.

“It was very hard,” Clark said.

That’s when she began praying and searching for a van with a wheelchair lift the family could use. She approached several friends and acquaintances, all of whom told her the project would be too expensive. Through a chance meeting with Masica, however, the plan started to come together.

“I’m not a quitter about something when I start it,” Clark said.

Masica is a board member for Joy’s House, a new women’s shelter opening in Limestone County. She and her husband also undertake community mission work out of their own pocket, and had never met Clark or the Witherows.

When out doing a recent home visit, she was accompanied by Clark, who works for DHR. The two began talking about the Witherows and their need, and Masica said she also began praying to find a vehicle for the family.

Then the hurdles started falling.

A vehicle had been donated to Joy’s House, which they traded for a 1993 van. Masica approached them about gifting it to the family.

“Of course everyone was on board right away,” she said.

With that prayer answered, a whole new list of needs popped up.

“We thought getting the van would be the hard part,” Masica said.

Everything from the tires, the exhaust and the wheelchair lift to the upholstery needed some kind of repair. At times, the two women worried it might not come together.

“We prayed over that van a lot,” Clark said. “I just kept on.”

Each time a new need arose, Masica said God provided someone to meet it for them. Landers-McClarty car dealership in Huntsville did “a majority of the work,” Masica said, but Southern Mobility in Madison, Friendship Church, Firestone at Redstone Arsenal and countless nameless individuals donated time, money and labor to support the Witherows.

“We had a plan for the van for Robert, but God’s plan was so much bigger,” Masica said. “There isn’t anything we all can’t do if we bond together and do it in Christ’s name.”

Clark also sees it as a testimony.

“We’re just the people,” she said. “It all worked out, and I believe it’s because of our faith.”

The community presented the van to the Witherows Saturday at a surprise ceremony during a charity yard sale for Joy’s House.

Robert’s father Stacey said the family had no idea so many people were thinking of his family.

“It means a great deal to us,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier.”

Now, instead of taking two cars wherever they go, the family can ride together without having to remove Robert from his chair. The seat also folds down when necessary.

“It speaks to the generosity of the human spirit,” he said. “It must have been quite an enterprise.”