Bouncing back

Permanently wounded by estranged husband, Scott gets local help for wheelchair home accessibility

  • Pictured before the Feb. 14 shooting, Rachel Scott stands on the porch of her home with her sons, Harrison, 6, left, and Alex, 9, and mother, Susan Prince. - Photos submitted

  • Scott smiles about the wheelchair accessibility help she’s received to help her deal with her new challenge. - Photos submitted

Turkey Creek’s PigTails and Crewcuts salon owner, Taryn Smith and husband, Chris Smith, who co-own construction businesses in Knox County, took it upon themselves this year to come to the aid of Taryn’s manager after she was shot and left paralyzed.

On Feb. 14, Rachel Scott, 33, of West Knoxville was the victim of a shooting by her estranged husband, who fatally shot himself and left her paralyzed from the chest down.

Scott now has to manage life in a wheelchair as a single mother with two small children, along with dealing with the insurance company after learning it would only cover repairs related to the shooting – flooring, paint and some trim — but not to making her home wheelchair accessible.

As manager of PigTails and Crewcuts, Scott had become close to Taryn, who also co-owns Smith Roofing & Exteriors and Smith Handyman Service with her husband.

“We were shocked by this tragedy and felt like we had to help where we could,” Chris said.

“Like everyone, I was worried and concerned for Rachel and her kids,” Taryn said. “There were a lot of questions about her future, both emotionally and physically, considering the circumstances.

“When we learned of her prognosis, that she would be wheelchair-bound, the contractor mind took over and started to ask questions, such as ‘what does her house look like? How will she get around in a wheelchair in her house? How can we make her house more stable for her?”

Taryn and Chris decided to take action.

The couple teamed up with eight other Knox County businesses, as well as members of Loveland Baptist Church and area residents Tim Webb and the Sedgley family, to renovate Scott’s home, making it Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. They widened doors, redid the kitchen and bath and built a ramp from her back door to the driveway.

About the Smiths taking on the project,  “(Taryn) didn’t even know me,” Scott said. “She had only hired me for one month, and she said she just felt like she needed to lead that entire situation.

“Honestly, it’s incredible, especially during these times, to have all these people and all these companies give their time and their labor and their materials, all donated or for a lower price, to help me out,” Scott said. “It makes me emotional to think about it.”

“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to hopefully make a small difference in Rachel’s life,” Taryn said. “I know this has been a great experience for not only me but our entire team to make a positive impact and do some meaningful work.

“This is a very hard new normal for anyone so to be able to contribute in any way was the least we could do,” she added.

“I’m so grateful,” Scott said. “I can’t think of good enough words.”