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Making A Difference: Leo Felder

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Posted by: Bryan Henry - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - His name is Leo Felder, gifted with his hands and a compassionate heart.

"I got in it to help folks," said Felder.

Repairing wheelchairs in an obscure metal building probably won't land Felder on the front page of Glamour magazine. After all this is tedious work and he does it alone, but it sure has earned him high praise from the very people who depend on him.

"Leo makes a difference in our lives," said Maze Marshall.

Marshall, paralyzed from the waist down, sums it up pretty well.

"When our chairs don't work, we're basically stuck at the house," Marshall said.

"We were hurtin'," said Felder.

That's how Leo Felder describes his childhood. He learned something in the struggle though; empathy toward others and the ability to use his hands to fix things. And so here he is today, repairing another wheelchair. The Felder is working on now belongs to a World War Two veteran. Felder doesn't charge anything in about 20% of his business.

"I felt like I didn't have a whole lot and because of that I was able to get into this and see people who don't have a whole lot," said Felder.

"Leo is a genius," said Marshall.

A genius with a flare of creativity. You won't believe the story of how Felder taught a paralyzed little girl to embrace a wheelchair. At first she was afraid of it.

"After they left I got to thinking and came up with an idea. I put a jug on the back with water in it.. mounted a little motor on it and a little push button so she could hit the button and aim the chair where ever she could point," Felder recalled.

In other words, Felder helped the girl make the best of a tragic situation, something Maze Marshall knows all too well.

It comes down to this for people like Maze Marshall. Without Felder their life would literally come to a halt.

"Like somebody unplugging your independence one day and plugging it back the next," said Marshall.

A genius, creative and prolific; Leo Felder repairs about 3 chairs a day.

Making a difference in the lives for those who spend their days in a wheelchair, a man named Leo.

If you know someone who is making a difference in the lives of others, email WSFA 12 News reporter Bryan Henry at bhenry@wsfa.com or if you prefer, you can contact Bryan at 334-613-8331.

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