ATHENS — Once again, the Georgia fan base showed its love for Devon Gales on Saturday.
Gales, a former Southern University football player who was injured on a collision with Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan during a game Sept. 26, 2015, was on campus before the G-Day Game. Gales and Marshall took part in a tailgate at the Baptist Student Union, and Georgia fans were there in strong support to raise money for Gales.
“It feels good. It’s like I’m at home,” Gales said of the fans’ support. “Yes, I was surprised. The love that they have is beautiful.”
Gales has spent more than two years at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta as he works to recover from the injury, which caused paralysis in his arms and legs.
“It’s huge. Just to have this many folks out here, and so many people are here to give from their heart, it’s just so great to see,” Morgan said. “It’s awesome. Originally the reason I came to Georgia is just the people are willing to help anybody, even if it’s someone from another school, although it tragically happened here, and they’re willing do whatever they can to make this happen. That’s just huge.”
Fans can donate at www.buildfordevon.com.
Morgan’s mom, Dana Morgan-Murphy, wrote about Gales on Facebook on Thursday. It has been edited slightly for clarity:
My plea to the SEC football staff and fans, everyone who is employed by the great University of Georgia and all of Bulldawg Nation,
My name is Dana Morgan-Murphy. Two and a half years ago my family and the Gales family’s lives were changed forever. Normally after a home game our home was full of life and laughter..the kids playing ping pong in the garage..and the adults inside rehashing every play while watching the recording of the game. September 26th, 2015 was different. There was a house full of people but the nervousness in the air was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Finally on the 11 o’clock news we heard Devon Gales would have emergency surgery for a spinal cord injury. We were speechless..we cried and we prayed.
After asking God to send every angel He had to watch over this young man I didn’t know…I then found myself literally begging the Almighty that this family, we had instantly become intertwined with, would not be angry or bitter toward my son Marshall over the accident. The following afternoon right after church my husband Mark and I went to both Athens hospitals trying to find the Gales. We were ushered back to a private waiting area at Athens Regional. Devon’s mother Tish, Thomas Settles and Katharyn Richt were there when we arrived. Devon was in surgery. We all hugged..held hands and waited. There was nothing but love in the room.
The next day Marshall went to see Devon with a few guys on the team. Instantly Tish spotted him and she went over and asked “Are you Marshall?” He fell into her arms and they both cried. Tish told him several times “It’s not your fault baby.” She later said, “I never wanted him to carry that heavy weight on his back and neither would Devon.”
Let me ask you, what greater gift could Tish Gales have given my son? She held Marshall and whispered blessings of peace into his ear knowing her son may never walk again. That’s real love. From that moment on I knew this family was very special.
A few weeks later Devon was on the news being asked how he felt about Marshall and he sat there for a moment …put his head down…then looked straight into the interviewers eyes and said..”I have nothing but love for Marshall…this was not his fault…I love him.” I must have sat and sobbed for 15 minutes. I thought this young man has the purest soul. I was already overwhelmed by love from Tish and now I felt it from Devon too.
Over two years have passed and the Gales have become our family. They press forward everyday with a smile and with not an ounce of guile toward anyone. You can’t meet them without falling in love with them.
Georgia Nation showed their support in a big way after the accident. Those funds went to paying for living expenses such as an apartment in Atlanta, for Tish and Devon. They needed to be near the Shepherd Center. Then six months after the tragedy, two brothers stepped up and presented Devon with a promise at a UGA press conference. They looked at the Gales and said, “We are going to build you a house.” They also said in the same press conference (which can be viewed on YouTube), “we’re not going to leave you.”
One year later they broke their promise and they did leave them…..and the Gales never said a word. After the brothers backed out.. a house fund was started. The non-profit fund has approx $130,000. in it. To build the kind of house Devons needs require it is estimated to be in the $500,000. range. This G-DAY can we make this home a reality for this family?
I believe with all my heart we can if everyone gives whatever they are able to give. No gift is to small…this house needs to happen. Please don’t wait for someone else who has more money to do it because that someone else may never do it.
Mark, myself, Marshall, Madison, Shane, Dulcie, Alex, Zach and their families will never leave Devon, Tish, Donny, Teah and Dalen.
I pray on this G-DAY you won’t either.
God bless and Go Dawgs!