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by André L. Marcus


On November 18th, 2016 I was leaving work and a SUV turned right in front of me. I was unable to break in time, and my car slammed into it going about 35 mph. The car was totaled and I walked away from the accident. Shortly thereafter I started experiencing chest and back pain. The diagnosis was that I had bruised ribs and that I injured my back. A week earlier, I had just finished running the Soldier Half-Marathon at Fort Benning.  This was the week leading up to Thanksgiving and I was thankful that it was not worse. I rested at home, while my wife and kids visited family. After multiple doctor visits, different medicines, and various treatments I started physical therapy 2 weeks before Christmas. By then I had missed a bit of time from work. My wife and I have 4 kids and a dog, and I am the primary financial support at this time. We were also down to one vehicle for our household. But, with our faith in Christ, we knew we were in good hands.


The day after I started physical therapy, I was asked to go see Mrs. Lisa in the Cornerstone office. We talked about the wreck, my family, and my health. I went on about my day and did not think anything of it. Later that day, a coworker and I had a conversation about the kids and our Christmas activities. Mrs. Lisa, asked me to come talk to her again later in the week asked me to sit down. She explained that Cornerstone wanted to help my family and told me to just accept whatever was coming my way. She then gave me a visa gift card that she wanted my wife and I to use for ourselves, and not the kids. I was thankful, but knew that it would be better spent on Christmas stuff for the kids or for things that we needed in the house. She also mentioned that she may be able to help me find transportation while I was going through physical therapy and the insurance process.


A week went by and she called me back into the office right before quitting time at work. I sat down again, and she presented me with the keys and title to a van. It was a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan. To some this may just be an old van, but to us this was better than a brand new car. After all my family and I had been through, this really touched me. She then handed me a gift card for the kids, and told me to stop by Human Resources after I finished all of the legal paperwork. I drive up to Human Resources expecting a gift box or two. Then they started asking for volunteers to help carry boxes to the van. They had huge boxes filled with gifts for each member of the house, as well as enough food to eat for more than two weeks. All of it donated by “Secret Santa(s).” I called my wife and asked her not to pick me up from work. I arrive in the van open all of the doors and ask her to come out. She then proceeds to ask me where did everything from. I explained the van story, and then told her that the rest was a blessing from Secret Santa(s). We both cried, laughed, celebrated, and more. This not only helped during Christmas, but we also had three birthdays in the next four weeks.


During the process, I frequently told Mrs. Lisa that although I have heard of similar stories from other Cornerstone members, I never expected to be a recipient of the assistance. My family and I have been so overjoyed by the love that we were shown during this difficult time. After 10 weeks of physical therapy, a week of the flu, I started getting back in shape to run more 5Ks, 10Ks, Half-Marathons, and beyond. In honor of all of the outpouring of support, both materialistic and emotionally, we are proud to announce the I RUN OPELIKA – Health and Wellness Expo to benefit Cornerstone of EAMC.  

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