Richmond County Sheriff's Office gives 'differently-abled' child special needs chair

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 8:05 PM
Last updated Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 1:19 PM
  • Follow Latest News

Cameras flashed and tissues were passed when the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office presented 4-year-old Noah Williams with a special chair that would give the boy, who would never be able to walk, the ability to run.

Back | Next
Naomi Williams smiles with her 4-year-old son, Noah, on Friday.   JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Naomi Williams smiles with her 4-year-old son, Noah, on Friday.

“We’re not just law enforcement. We’re part of the community,” Sheriff Richard Roundtree said during the ceremony at the sheriff’s office Friday. “We’re here to make the community better in every way we can.”

Noah was born three months premature with cerebral palsy. Doctors told his mother, Naomi, that her only child would never talk, walk or crawl.

“I made a promise when he was one,” said Williams, who is a member of the local running group Black Girls Run. “I told him as long as I could run I would run for him.”

Williams said safety was becoming an increasing concern for her “differently-abled” child, who has little head or body control.

She applied for a grant to purchase a safer chair for her son, but it was denied because it wasn’t deemed a “special needs” chair.

The sheriff’s office’s running team had met Noah several times on various runs and learned the difficulties the mother faced. When Roundtree heard the story, he called the decision a “no brainer.”

“I cried,” Williams said of the phone call that gave her the good news. “I was still on the phone and I just started crying.”

The $1,200 Large Special Needs Trailer by WIKE Bicycle Trailers was purchased with funds from the sheriff’s office benevolent fund. Outspokin’ Bicycles assisted in ensuring the chair was assembled correctly and safe for mother and child.

Members of the sheriff’s office running team and Black Girls Run gathered in the department’s conference room with the Williams family when Roundtree wheeled in the bright yellow and blue stroller that came equipped with a canopy, orange flag and a bike hitch.

“This means the world to us,” Williams said at the presentation.

She described running as “therapy” for her and Noah. When he gets agitated, running calms him and helps put him to sleep.

The mother and members of the sheriff’s office fumbled over instructions with the new chair for several minutes before getting Noah settled in, but Williams knew instantly it was a better fit.

“That feels so much better, doesn’t it?” she said quietly to her son.

After the presentation, the runners took a one-mile police-escorted run through downtown with Noah and Williams, who was wearing a white tank top with her son’s picture and a photo of the handicap symbol “= differently-abled”.

After the run, Williams said the chair was even better than she expected and better than the one she had originally hoped to buy with the grant.

Noah would have outgrown the chair she hoped to buy in little more than a year, but the new one is large enough and supported enough weight to take Noah into his teenage years.

“I feel like wondrous opportunities have just opened for us,” she said.

The old chair added an extra 80 pounds of weight to their run and was difficult to manage in hilly areas, but the new one was much lighter, easy to navigate, and more comfortable for Noah.

Williams said other runners like to help by pushing Noah during a run, but they are often scared to. The new chair, she said, will make others feel more comfortable.

She’s also excited to pull Noah on a bike for the first time.

Comments (6) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/05/13 - 08:38 am
1
0
It is a running chair? Or a therapeutic/medical need? Oh well.
Unpublished

It is a running chair? Or a therapeutic/medical need? Oh well.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 10/05/13 - 08:39 am
1
0
Makes for good print. Now buy all the others a running chair.
Unpublished

Makes for good print. Now buy all the others a running chair.

nocnoc
41452
Points
nocnoc 10/05/13 - 09:16 am
3
0
Tots
25885
Points
Tots 10/05/13 - 11:46 am
3
1
This is a great story

This is a great story to read/hear about...

AutumnLeaves
7143
Points
AutumnLeaves 10/05/13 - 12:26 pm
3
3
The stroller for the

The stroller for the youngster is a lovely idea and possibly good PR. However, I thought the name of the running group in the story is "Black Girls Run" not simply "Black Girls", could you check and make sure you have the right name for the group? Not that I like the name, simply wondering why different media are reporting two different names for the group, but I'm guessing anyone that would name their running group on the basis of race or color of their skin or join one doesn't care what I think. Either name seems rather, well, at the least, NOT good PR for the city in general and the group in particular. The more I think about it, the more insensitive and offensive it seems and the more it taints the story. Sad. Aren't people past this shallow, superificial divisiveness based on skin color yet?

MM28
2
Points
MM28 10/05/13 - 03:15 pm
0
0
Great story

Congrats to Naomi and Noah, and thank you to Sheriff Roundtree and his team for making this possible. It's nice to see such positive stories in the headlines.

Truth Matters
6635
Points
Truth Matters 10/06/13 - 08:54 pm
0
0
"Aren't people past this

"Aren't people past this shallow, superificial divisiveness based on skin color yet?"

Yep. Like the Washington Redskins?

AutumnLeaves
7143
Points
AutumnLeaves 10/07/13 - 04:47 pm
0
0
Truth Matters,

Truth Matters, football/baseball or whatever that name is not being discussed in this article, but for your information, I'm part American Indian and I don't have a problem with a team being called the Washington Redskins, it is not being used purposely to seem to exclude anyone, unlike the name "Black Girls Run", but some of us (of American Indian heritage) do find the name Washington Redskins objectionable anyway, that is fine, they can and do voice their opinion, lobby to change the name, etc. (and no, most of the American Indians I know do NOT like the label Native American, but that's subjective, personal, opinion). I simply do not have much interest in football so that name is not on my radar. I wonder if there was a named running team "American Indians Run" or "White Girls Run" if there would be a furor by those who are not either of those? Probably.

Back to Top

Top headlines

UGA jumps up in 2 polls

The University of Georgia made the second-biggest jump of all the teams in the two national ranking polls, both of which were released Tuesday.
Search Augusta jobs