Hembree family gets generous donation after thieves steal generator
By Melanie Tucker | (email@example.com)
A family whose generator was stolen overnight Wednesday in Alcoa has reason to be thankful today after a company donated one and delivered it on Friday.
The generator was extremely important to Chester and Jennifer Hembree, the parents of 5-year-old Lucas Hembree. Lucas suffers from a rare and fatal genetic disorder called Sanfilippo Syndrome and needs the generator in case the power goes out, to operate his feeding machine, oxygen monitor and other equipment.
Jennifer said the family noticed the generator was gone as they were loading Lucas into the van for therapy on Thursday morning. It had been bolted to the ground and covered. Thieves had to unbolt it and drag it across the yard because of its weight, Jennifer said.
She speculated the generator was stolen for its scrap value. The cord was left behind.
“It had been there almost a year,” she said. “It’s very heavy. Three or four people had to carry it and drag it through the yard.”
She said the family knows it was taken either Wednesday night or early Thursday because they had been out playing in the yard that evening and it was there. It was Lucas’ home nurse who made the discovery Thursday morning. She thought maybe Jennifer or Chester had moved the generator to another location.
Chester put up a sign in the yard after the generator was discovered missing, letting the thieves know they had stolen from a sick 5-year-old boy.
Lucas has been featured in several articles in The Daily Times and also the Knoxville media. When word got out about the theft, Certified Generator Service stepped in to help, giving the family a 9,000-watt generator to replace the 7,500-watt unit that was taken. Robert Burnett, owner of Certified Generator Service, said he was glad he could help.
Jennifer said it would have cost them at least $2,000 to replace the stolen item. She is grateful help came so quickly.
In addition, Phoenix Conversions in Knoxville also came to the family’s aid. The Hembrees had been saving money too buy a new wheelchair carrier for their van because the old one was wearing out. Phoenix Conversions came on Friday to provide the family a new one. Scott Hayse said his company also donated the labor to install it.
“It all happened so fast,” Jennifer said. She just wanted everyone to know how thankful they are for the new equipment for their son.