Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Larry Wayne Gurley

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

By Lillye Younger, Sun Correspondent

Handicapped Young Man Is Enjoying Useful Life

PERRYVILLE, Tenn. — Larry Wayne Gurley, 28, of Perryville has received a special handicapped award made by Gov. Buford Ellington and presented by Decatur County Judge Juanita Long.

It was in 1957 while he was a sophomore at Parsons High School that the youth was injured in an automobile accident. "We were returning from a Sunday school picnic at Pickwick when the accident occurred," the young man explained.

He was pinned under the car and received burns on his hands and arms, a broken back and severed nerves in his spine, causing him to become paralyzed from the waist down.

The young student of 17 bursting with health and eagerness, found life in a wheel chair hard to envision. Aside from being unable to walk, he experienced severe, almost unbearable, headaches.

He has had five major operations at three different hospitals. After treatments, Larry Wayne went to a television school in Memphis, but was unable to finish the course because of his condition.

Four years later, under the advice of Mrs. Flo Chandler, Regional Rehabilitation director in Jackson, he entered the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center. Here he remained for 20 months and showed marked improvement. He received a certificate of attainment in horology (the art of making timepieces).

While at the center he served on the student council, receiving a certificate of merit for his work. He also was editor of the school newspaper.

Gurley attributes much of his success to Mrs. Chandler, who he said inspired him and kept in touch with him regularly during his stay at Hot Springs. At present he is employed at Kaddis Manufacturing Corp. in Parsons where he has worked as inspector for the past year. He also works at a local jewelry store on Saturdays as watch repair man.

He can do almost everything that he did before his accident. He drives his car, which has its controls on the steering column, is able to get in and out of the car, unaided, as well as the bath tub. He leads a very normal life — dating, going to the movies and working.

Larry Wayne may not have the use of his legs, but his wheelchair and his courage have assured him that if you can't be up and around, then be down and around, but get around.

"It is always possible to be up when you are down by being up in spirit," he said.

He lives with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gurley in Perryville.

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