Special Olympics coach rallies strangers to help player in need

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 11:26 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 24 at 11:32 PM

HOUSTON—John Lakey has more than his coach’s eye.  He also has her heart.

“He’s like a brother to me,” said Naresa Sheriff.  “He’s in a lot of my memories.”

Those memories were forged through grade school, early adulthood and onto the Special Olympics, where Sheriff instructs John in volleyball.

“He always hugs and always smiles.  And he never complains about anything.”

Lakey doesn’t complain despite his mental disability and the fact that at the age of 40, he has never been able to live on his own outside of the family home.   But that’s about to change now that he’s rented an apartment.

He said he was excited and ready to move, but admitted that he didn’t have any belongings to put into the new place.

“But I’ve got patience and faith,” said Lakey.

He also has a friend like Sheriff, who posted a message on Facebook seeking donations.

“And in one day, we had 38 people respond,” said Sheriff.  “And his place is furnished from top to bottom.

Neighbors opened their homes and their hearts to Lakey.  Most of them had never met him before but they just wanted to help.

And their act of kindness brought Lakey to tears.

“Thank you,” he said as he hugged Sheriff.

 

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