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Pay It Forward: Gentle giant gifted a swing

A 23-year-old man with autism was generously gifted a custom-built swing to bring him some serenity.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is the Volunteer state and some people really take slogan to the next level.  A local company gifted a young man a swing for Christmas.

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

But Cobey is not your typical 23-year-old, he has autism.

He may have graduated from high school, but he doesn't have a job. He didn't go to college, so he doesn't have a career. 

And despite all of this...Cobey has a golden smile, especially when he's done swinging.

"Everyday, I mean he's out here 5, 10 times a day...at night, in the morning, rain or shine and as soon as he gets off of it there's an immediate calm."

However... it's not always been this way.  You see, as Cobey continued to grow, the swings were not growing with him.

"He started getting welts on the side of his thighs.  He'd actually be bleeding through his blue jeans," she exclaims.

And he couldn't even express his pain.

"Cobey is nonverbal and is considered low functioning," his mom said.

So, Jenifer Thomas, or mom, needed to find a solution to her son's problem.  And she did what any mom would do! She reached out to anyone and everyone for some help and unfortunately was turned away time after time. 

Remember, Cobey is nearly 7 feet tall and weighs over 200 pounds and he needed a swing.

"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!"