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When 7-Foot-Tall ‘Gentle Giant’ With Autism Outgrows Swing Set, Handyman Steps in for Free

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

It's tough to find a swingset when you're 7-feet-tall and 200+ pounds...

23-year-old Cobey Thomas loves the swings. Every day, rain or shine, he hopped on the swings at the local park in Knoxville, Tennessee. Even though he is nonverbal, his mother says he's noticeably more peaceful after hittin' the swings -- which he does anywhere from 5 to 10 times a day.

"Cobey's my son... my 23-year-old man-child," said Jenifer Thomas, Cobey's mom.

That being said, Cobey has grown to be about 7 feet tall and over 200 pounds. His mother, Jenifer Thomas, became distraught when the park’s tiny swingset started to inflict various

scrapes and bruises on his legs dragging on the ground. Cobey even started to have trouble sleeping because of his injuries.

Thomas then started to reach out to various local contractors and businesses in hopes of finding someone to build a new swingset for her “gentle giant” – but time and time again, she was rejected.

Finally, she reached out to Allen Ellison from Mr. Handyman home repair services just before Christmas – and she was stunned by his compassionate response.

Not only did he recruit the help of an engineer in order to design a specialized swingset for Cobey’s size, Ellison also built it in Thomas’s backyard free of charge.

“Allen came out immediately and brought an engineer with him, and just went to work. I mean… they just made it happen very fast,” Thomas told WBIR.

"Just amazing.... he restored my faith. Let's put it that way," she said with a tear in her eye.

She's talking about Allen Ellison, owner of Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville.

"And Allen came out immediately and brought an engineer with him, and just went to work.  I mean... they just made it happen very fast."

Allen says, "We built him a custom swing." And not just any swing.  A swing to support this gentle giant.

"His size and his love for swinging and how it helps him mentally and physically and we got excited to give back to someone," Allen talks about the project.

And that they did. The week of Christmas this past year, Allen and his team presented this one of a kind swing for a special person with autism.

We call it the monument!... (laughing), it's Codey's Monument!" Jenifer chuckles.

"Every time I look at it I'm still in a little bit of awe!"

(WATCH the news coverage below) – Photo by WBIR


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