Five months ago Mike Heinz, a sheet-metal worker, volunteer fireman and popular resident in Lamont, Illinois, suffered a severe accident which left him a quadriplegic.
CU STILL Mike and Linda Heinz's wedding
SV Mike Heinz steering wheelchair
SV Heinz in wheelchair
SV & GVs & CUs Friends and neighbours building (4 shots)
SV Mrs heinz speaking (SOT)
SV Mike Heinz speaking (SOT)
GVs & SVs Neighbours speaking about building (3 shots)
SV Mr and Mrs heinz watching building
SV PULL BACK TO GV Building work in progress
LINDA HEINZ (SEQUENCE SIX): "They're really trying to help him rebuild his life and they're giving us a wonderful Christmas present."
MIKE HEINZ (SEQUENCE SEVEN): "It's like they're giving up their heart to me, it just makes you feel good that the people will do that."
FIRST NEIGHBOUR: "I like it."
SECOND NEIGHBOUR: "It's real good inside."
THIRD NEIGHBOUR: "I'm surprised, it's really moving."
NOTE TO EDITORS: THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY NBC REPORTER MARY NISSENSEN WHICH MAY BE USED IF REQUIRED.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Five months ago Mike Heinz, a sheet-metal worker, volunteer fireman and popular resident in Lamont, Illinois, suffered a severe accident which left him a quadriplegic. When he was discharged from hospital, he found his house had little room to manoeuvre a wheelchair, and stairs made much of his home inaccessible. His friends and neighbours decided to change all that. About forty of them gathered in Heinz's back yard one morning to build a special room for him. They planned to finish the project by nightfall and made no charge for materials or labour. Special controls were installed to make it easy for Heinz to open doors and use the telephone, and enlarged closets and a special shower were built. Heinz's wife Linda said that in helping her husband rebuild his life, the neighbours were giving them both a wonderful Christmas present. The neighbours took pride in their construction project and planned a celebration, not only in honour of the new house, but also in honour of their new friendships.