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Jewelry store raises funds for employee

Oct. 13, 2013 @ 12:10 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Joe Chapman is counting down the days until he can see John Paul Kelley working again at his jewelry store in downtown Huntington.

Kelley, a manager at C.F. Reuschlein on 3rd Avenue for the past seven years, was paralyzed from the waist down this summer in a swimming pool accident. On Saturday, Chapman let Kelley and his family know in a big way how much his coworkers are thinking about him. The jewelry store conducted a prize drawing for a Rolex watch and a diamond pendant in a raffle that raised more than $30,000 for Kelley and his family.

"It's very humbling to see this much support for our family and John Paul and his family," said John Paul's mother, Pat Kelley, who attended the drawing along with her husband John, daughter Mary and John Paul's in-laws Dennis and Donna Slagle. "He still has a good attitude, his wife still has a good attitude, and they're looking forward to coming home."

John Paul has spent the past few months undergoing physical therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and is expected to come home in early November. His doctors are optimistic he'll recover some of his abilities, Chapman said, but he faces medical expenses from the treatment, the therapy and accessibility upgrades to his home and vehicle.

Chapman enthusiastically shared pictures of him and John Paul when Chapman visited him in August and said he will do whatever it takes to make his store more accessible for Kelley so he can come back to work when he's ready.

"We can't wait to welcome him back and see him helping customers again," Chapman said. "He's so upbeat and really ahead of his goals."

Sandy MacCallum of Madison, W.Va., won the diamond pendant, valued at $9,000, while Bill Estwanik of Columbus, Ohio, won the Rolex watch, valued at $6,200. They were not present for the drawing. John Paul was going to call them himself Saturday afternoon and tell them they had won, Chapman said.

The drawing was the latest in a string of fundraisers that have benefited John Paul, his wife, Jessica, and six-month-old daughter, Paige. A 5K run in August raised about $30,000 for the family, Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar donated a portion of its sales on a Saturday, friends have hosted golf scrambles and numerous volunteers have helped remodel the family's Proctorville home.

"It's unbelievable what the community has done," Chapman said. "It really warms your heart when you see the support.

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