New home for Special Olympics athlete

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A Special Olympics athlete and his mother have moved into a new home after living out of a van for roughly a year.

Retired Champaign Police Deputy Chief Troy Daniels started a GoFundMe page for Jeramey and Amber Woolsey in July after he learned the two were staying in a van during the extreme heat wave.

The initial fundraising effort got them into an air conditioned hotel, but after the page surpassed its goal by thousands of dollars, Daniels put the remainder of the money toward helping furnish a new apartment for the two.

“It has been awesome seeing the love of the community and people reaching out to help them,” Daniels said.

“It’s just so amazing,” Amber Woolsey said. “It’s wonderful having a roof over our heads all the time.”

The Woolseys are finishing settling into their new home, but still need a washer and dryer, so Daniels is keeping the fundraising page open to help with those costs.

“We are just very thankful,” Daniels said. “The last major purchase that we have to worry about is the washer and dryer so we’re trying to raise some more money to get that and after that that’s the last major thing we have to worry about.”

Jeramey said his favorite part of the apartment is his bedroom.

“A place to sleep,” he described. “And also I like the dresser, a laptop, desk, nightstand and a lamp.”

Jeramey is already talking about ways to give back. He’ll be volunteering at a Special Olympics event at Arrowhead Lanes in Champaign this weekend.

“Jeramey is such a lover and a giver,” Ashley Taylor, Daniels’ niece, said. “And you can’t help but fall in love with him when you meet him.”

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