A local youngster was not expecting to see Santa this year, so a couple of businessmen stepped up to the plate and made more than one wish come true.
Just two days before Christmas, Chris Bryant, who will always call Newport “home”, put out an all-call on his Facebook page to Jackson Countians in order to help a Newport mom make Christmas for her disabled son.
“She stepped out in faith,” Bryant said Tuesday. “Her son deserves the same Christmas every boy wants and she wanted to make it happen.”
The Facebook post asked for someone to step in and perform the role of Santa Claus for 10 year old Grayson Devors, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and due to illness was unable to visit Santa this year.
“Who wouldn’t respond to such a request?” Bryant asked. So he shared the post, asking for Jackson Countians to respond quickly to make the Christmas miracle happen. Two local heroes responded immediately, but having two Santa’s wasn’t going to work, so arrangements were made and the planning began.
Andy May said it was never his intention for word to spread that he was playing the part, but he was so thankful for getting to help the family. “I even got to hold little Grayson,” he said Tuesday, obviously being the most special part of the day. “I was glad I was able to do it for the family and those in the neighborhood.”
As May and his wife, Glenda, prepared for their visit, they quickly realized that Santa visiting an apartment complex was going to bring lots of attention from little eyes, so they quickly compiled around 13 goody bags for the youngsters who may drop by to visit. “And there were several,” he laughed. As the visit with Grayson began, little faces creeped around the door and Santa welcomed them in his lap with a smile and gift for each one, visiting around 10 youngsters from the Harmony Homes complex.
This reporter was on the phone with May when he was shopping for his little buddy who loves the superheroes, football and wrestling. “What do I get? I don’t even know!” He frantically searched through Wal-Mart, spouting off that he liked Spider-Man and Superman, but had all the movies, likes Metallica, but there’s only one good song, and he can’t use his arms and legs so he wanted to make sure he got something he could look at. He decided on a shirt, I advised of the size and we didn’t speak again until Tuesday.
‘We got him a shirt and poster, Glenda and I framed it, and some other stuff,” May said quietly, “I just wanted to help where I could,” adding that others have since given him donations to help with the visits costs.
Mom, Tammy Devors, could not have been more pleased. “Honestly, I’m still emotional about it all,” she said Tuesday afternoon, but when talking about her son, she’s all smiles. “He’s worth it. I don’t feel Grayson should ever miss out.” Devors explained that Grayson was unable to attend the Newport Christmas parade and Tuckerman wrestling arena visit with Santa, “I was like ‘what am I going to do?’” Hence the Facebook post that started it all. “I’m so thankful for Chris and Andy stepping up during their holidays. It was an amazing day!”
Tammy and Grayson moved to Newport from Colt with no family or friend support. They came looking for a place that would be handicap accessible for the youngster and where he could get educational support despite his handicap. Mom says Harmony Homes provided the space they needed in their four bedroom apartment with a walk-in shower and the Newport School District has been more than accommodating, letting him do schoolwork at home. He’s recently begun working on eye-movement communication with his therapist and is excelling in use of equipment for the verbally handicapped. “There’s a person trapped inside that little body, he’s taking it all in but there’s only so much he can put out. I’m so thankful for the therapists and team that we have helping us.”
This isn’t the first time the community has come through for the Devors family. “Anytime I’ve ever asked for anything for Grayson, it’s happened,” she said. Three years ago the family was blessed with a vehicle locally that would accommodate Grayson’s wheelchair. “I didn’t know people were like that, they just show up and help out.”