KUNA - Seven months after an accidental shooting left 21-year-old Jacob Tewalt paralyzed, he is closer to living a normal life again, thanks to the generosity of a group of volunteers.
Back in November, Jacob was riding in a car with some friends. The teenager sitting in the seat behind his had a gun. It went off. The bullet went straight through the back of his seat, and into Jacob's back.
He was paralyzed. In the months since then, Jacob has been trying to adjust to a new normal. There have been complications, and it hasn't been an easy road. He's been undergoing physical therapy, and has more surgeries ahead.
"When stuff like this happens you definitely figure out who your real friends are," he said.
His parents had a big challenge ahead of them: how to get their Kuna home ready for Jacob and his wheelchair.
"We knew we needed to do so much, but we had no idea where to start," said his mom, Diana Boyll.
The family lives in a two-story house. All of the bedrooms and most of the bathrooms are upstairs. The cost of renovating their home was overwhelming.
"We don't have that type of money to renovate everything," said Jacob. "I don't know where I'm going to go or how this all going to work."
That's where Jeremy Barber came in. He didn't know the family, but he heard about Jacob's situation.
"Everyone wants to be a part of a community and help their neighbors," he said.
Barber is a project manager for local general contractor - HC Company, Inc. They partnered with the Boise State Construction Management Alumni Association to help.
"We came over and met with the family looked at what they had going on, talked about what they wanted and said we're going to make something happen," Jeremy said.
The crew of volunteers went to work right away, taking apart the existing bathroom and adding a bedroom downstairs.
"We made the shower so that it was a shower that you could roll into with the wheelchair," Jeremy explained. "We made everything in there [wheelchair] accessible."
They worked for the entire month of January to get the house ready for Jacob.
"They were here late some nights, and early some mornings," said Diana. "And they did all of this while still doing their jobs."
Jacob is now able to get around his own home with ease.
"You know [Jeremy] didn't have to do it and for whatever reason he decided he was going to make it work and I am grateful," he said.
"I have told Jeremy a million times thank you, but it's not enough," Diana added. "It's not enough for all they did for us.They took a really dark time for us and helped is see that there is still good out there."
Jacob is also getting support from someone who understands his situation all too well. Last weekend, he got a visit from Boise Police Cpl. Kevin Holtry, who was shot in the line of duty last year and who, like Jacob, is paralyzed.
The family says the visit meant the world to Jacob, and they plan to keep in touch.
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