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Orange County brothers strive for normal lives, despite the damage that muscular dystrophy is doing to their bodies
Date published: 5/10/2012
By CATHY DYSON
The Plumb family of Orange County appreciates all the attention coming their way, they really do.
They're grateful that the folks at Faulconer Hardware nominated GW and Ben, brothers who are 26 and 24, as local heroes in an online contest. If they get the most votes, they'll win a handicapped-accessible vehicle, which the family could use.
The Plumbs don't have a vehicle with lifts and ramps. There's not enough room in their van for the wheelchairs used by the brothers, who have a rapidly worsening degenerative disease.
So, their mom, Jane, carries both men in and out of the vehicle as she takes them to work each morning and picks them up each evening. She leaves an older chair at home and a newer one at the workplaces for each son.
Jane works full time at Dogwood Village, a nursing home in Orange. Their dad, George, works for Dominion Power and keeps up with the farm's Angus herd.
That's life for the Plumbs, and they're not complaining. The parents have striven to give their sons a normal life despite the damage that Duchenne muscular dystrophy has done to their sons' bodies.
"We have always, always, always treated those guys as if nothing was wrong," Jane said. "They played T-ball. They walked for a while. They fish and hunt with equipment they've adapted. We always made them think they have to do everything like everybody else, that they have responsibilities and obligations.
"We've never made them think they're special," she stressed.
Well, lots of people in Orange County do.
GW has worked at the hardware store since he was a junior at Orange County High School.
Conway Faulconer, who says she has serious dyslexia and knows what it's like to be "odd man out," calls GW an invaluable member of her staff. She employs 15 to 20 part-time workers, including a deaf girl, a woman whose hands are deformed and a man in his mid-80s.
"I've told GW this a thousand times," Faulconer said. "He came in as a pity, and he turned out to be the best thing that ever happened here."
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is celebrating local heroes by giving away at least three wheelchair-accessible vehicles, valued at about $40,000 each.
GW and Ben Plumb have been nominated as local heroes. The Orange County brothers are 26 and 24 and have Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
To vote, go to nmeda.com/mobility-awareness-month/
The voting started April 1 and ends Sunday. The contest allows one vote from the same IEP address every 24 hours.