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‘He is a miracle’: Five minutes, one stranger change the life of woman who lost her leg

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio --  Five minutes and one stranger were all it took to change Dawn Wagner's life.

Wagner, a former bus driver from North Ridgeville, hasn't been able to independently leave her home in almost a year.

She has diabetes and has suffered several complications over the years, most recently leading to the amputation of most of her left leg. It's left her immobile and stuck inside, unable to complete physical therapy to learn to use a prosthetic leg.

"I can get out of the house, but I need someone to carry me actually out in my wheelchair," Wagner said. "It's a big game changer. You can't just get up and walk like you normally would. I really have to think about using my walker. I don't really walk around the house so much just because I'm unsteady on my legs."

Wagner applied for government assistance, but has been waiting for nearly a year for the money she needed to build a proper ramp. In the meantime, she made due with a plywood makeshift ramp and help from others when possible.

"She  just cried every day," said her longtime friend, Kelly Tolson. "She cried every day because not only did she lose her leg, but she couldn't even go outside to take her dog out."

Just before Christmas, Tolson decided to turn to GoFundMe for help. Exclusive Modeling owner Joe Tomecko saw Tolson's plea on social media and reached out to her just minutes later.

Text between Joe and Kelly

"I was on Facebook one day and saw a GoFundMe," said Tomecko. "A lady looking for a wheelchair ramp. I said, well I've been doing good since 2018, so I decided to pay it forward."

Tomecko's company specializes in remodeling and building decks. He decided to donate all the materials and manwork to make Wagner her ramp.

It took Tomecko and his team about 15 hours to assemble most of it in their facility Monday. Tuesday, in freezing cold temperatures, they spent about two hours installing it at Wagner's home.

"He is a miracle," said Tolson. "Now she can go to therapy with her prosthetic leg and walk up these steps, she can't even get into her kitchen. We knocked one obstacle down, so we'll knock the other ones down."

Wagner watched the construction eagerly from the front door, taking photos and smiling. She even tried it out after the ramp was finished.

"This is going to make a big difference," Wagner said. "If you give to others, eventually you're going to need something, and they're going to give back to you."

Tomecko said he didn't do it for attention and wasn't looking for recognition.

"She lost her leg," said Tomecko. "And I feel like, I've been in predicaments where I couldn't help myself, and now I'm pretty blessed to where I can help someone else. So I felt that it was the right thing to do."

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