Medically-fragile man uses his gifts to make a difference - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Medically-fragile man uses his gifts to make a difference

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- A 20-year old medically fragile man is not letting life's challenges stop him from making a difference. WDRB's Sterling Riggs shows us how he's leaving a lasting impression on visitors at the Louisville Zoo.

It's a perfect sunny day at the Zoo. Bart, the 500 pound sea lion is performing his usual tricks and the grizzly bear exhibit is a hot spot for visitors. But before the gates open for an unforgettable day of fun, one of the Zoo's hardest working volunteers is putting on his uniform- preparing for a day on the grind.

Meet 20-year old Christopher Stelly.  He has a different perspective on life.  Most people don't like to work, but his face says it all.

Stelly experienced non-stop seizures as an infant.  Doctors had to remove the right side of his brain leaving him unable to talk.  He's also unable to move his legs.  Stelly can't say anything but he speaks volumes through his smile. 

Every other week, he leaves the Home of the Innocents with his teacher Phyllis Moss by his side.  Stelly gets his money ready to go and the pair catches a TARC bus to work. He's strapped in and 15 minutes later he arrives at his office.

Stelly's lowered down from the bus; wheeled to his work station and pulls a one and a half hour shift. His job is to greet visitors and hand out maps.

"I expect something from him because I know he can do it. He's capable of doing it himself," says Phyllis Moss. Stelly's co-worker is also his special needs teacher.  Just like Stelly, Moss volunteers her time when the two visit the zoo together.

You've got to watch this guy at times. He likes to joke around with visitors every now and then. "Christopher's new thing is that he thinks is funny to hold onto the map and play tug of war," says Moss.   

Stelly's been handing out maps at the zoo for the past 4 years.  At first, his co-workers didn't know what to think about him volunteering.  Stelly's now earned their respect through his work ethic and never give up attitude.

When his work is over, Stelly breaks bread with some of his co-workers before heading back to the Home of the Innocents. When the weather gets cold you will find Chris Stelly volunteering at the Kentucky Science Center.

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