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Maury County veteran battling ALS receives ramp

FOX 17 News

A midstate Army veteran who served our country for 40 years received a helping hand Thursday night.

The 72-year-old is in the biggest fight of his life as he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. But, there's one thing keeping him on the move.

Some boards and nails formed a wheelchair ramp for the loveable Maury County veteran known as Skip.

The ramp could mean the difference for him between home and a nursing home, after a strict warning from his doctor to stop falling.

"The number of times I've fallen in the house, I've stopped counting," Veteran William "Skip" Bottoms, Jr. said. "It was better to fall onto the couch than fall on the ground, but any fall hurts."

He's been bruised, broken bones, and wound up in the hospital. He lives alone after being diagnosed with ALS about five years ago.

But the man known as "Skip" keeps a smile -- and keeps on going.

"He's one of the most amazing people I've ever met," Build & Learn Executive Director Quinton Jones said.

Like many, Jones gravitated to Skip's personality.

He didn't think twice about getting his organization involved when he learned Skip needed a way to get around without falling.

Bottoms retired from the Army as a Command Sergeant Major.

Jones says he's among 7,000 veterans in Maury County alone, and fewer than 300 of our veterans there receive any kind of assistance.

"We're all free because of our service people. And we never want to forget that," Jones said.

Until now, one of Skip's biggest concerns has been breaking a hip. Now, he's worried about how he'll ever repay this favor.

"I can't shake a hand hard enough to thank people and to let them know," Skip said. "All I can do is try to help them when the time comes and if I have the money."

Now that the outdoor ramp is done, Jones says his organization plans to make more modifications inside Skip's home.

All of the materials for this work is paid for by donations from area businesses.

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