RSL star presents check for new Hancock house
Ryan Summerlin November 29, 2011
KAMAS — As South Summit High School students crowded the auditorium, enjoying an early exit from school Monday afternoon, the lights went dark and a drop-down video screen relayed footage of Porter Hancock’s new house, currently under construction. The Wildcat student body went into a craze.
The junior South Summit linebacker who was partially paralyzed in a South Summit football game on Oct. 7 remains in rehab in Salt Lake City, working on gaining strength in his upper body.
The assembly on Monday afternoon welcomed a video montage of the new Hancock house, being built with donated funds, and also had a special guest in Real Salt Lake defender and Park City resident Chris Wingert, who was on hand to present a $2,500 check to Hancock’s uncle, Andy Woolstenhulme.
Woolstenhulme, who is a manager of the Zion’s Bank branch in Kamas, has been helping with the funds for his nephew as well as working on the new house.
"I think we’ve raised enough funds now that we’re going to be able to pay for the home and leave it without a mortgage for the family," he said. "That was our goal. That’s what we wanted to do; we didn’t want to leave them with a large monthly payment or debt."
Woolstenhulme spoke to the student body as the video montage played, describing the new wheelchair-accessible house that will feature a specialized-rehab room for Porter to continue his rehabilitation. He added there are no steps in the house, and that Porter’s room is on the northeast side of the building, where he will have his own sizable room and bathroom.
The $2,500 check presented by Wingert to Woolstenhulme was money raised through Deb Harper, a close friend of Real Salt Lake players. Wingert said, Harper picked a charity to donate to after raising money at the Jordan Commons movie theatre during the opening night of the newest "Twilight" film saga.
Wingert said Harper chose Hancock and his family and asked Wingert if he would be willing to present the check and speak to the South Summit student body.
"They just asked me to get involved at this level and I said, ‘Absolutely,’" Wingert said. "It was great to come over here.
"It’s just heartbreaking. It’s tough, but guys do get injured. Fortunately you don’t see too many injuries of this severity, but when you hear of one, it breaks your heart. Especially to know a kid’s out there just having fun, and to have this happen, to set him back like that is a real shame."
Wingert said RSL is very active in the community and he speaks to high school student bodies as often as possible, especially in his offseason.
"Sometimes it’s about just talking to the kids, and sometimes, it’s a little more special and specific like today," he said Monday.
Woolstenhulme said his cousins, Kent and Tiny Woolstenhulme, are also working on the construction of the new Hancock home on Millrace Road in Oakley and are hoping to have the house completed by Porter’s expected release date of Tuesday, Dec. 13.
"It’s amazing to see the willingness of people to step up and provide whatever means they can to Porter and his family," he said. "They continue to roll in every day. Whether they’re from the community here or outside the community, or they hear about this from the press or through TV, these things continue to grow."
Asked if he initially thought enough could be raised to cover the entire cost of the home, Andy Woolstenhulme smiled.
"We hoped," he said. "That was our goal; but with any goal, we thought it was going to be a stretch. As individuals and companies stepped up, foundations stepped up; it’s just been overwhelming. We’ve had people donate as far as Florida, California, who either saw the story online and its resonated with him and they felt the need or desire to contribute, so that’s been really amazing."
Wingert is back in his home state of New York this week, but said plans are in motion to visit Porter in the hospital once he returns.
"I’m planning on getting to know him," he said. "Definitely."