"Reaching out to Special Friends in Need"
Andy was born multiply handicapped in 1979 to David and Carolyn Wilks. Andy, being the youngest of three children, was taken care of at home by his parents, older brother Jon, sister Kelly and numerous special friends until the age of 19. After two extended stays at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Andy spent 2 and a half years in residence at Bancroft Neuro Health Center in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Andy returned to Bedford County in 2001 at the age of 22. He lived with assistance in his own home, worked faithfully for his church, and did volunteer work at a horse rescue farm. He was an active member of Brookhill Wesleyan Church, Mill Mountain Zoo, the Bedford YMCA and the Challenged Sports Exchange.
Andy was proud of the service he provided his church and he would say he was doing God’s work. Andy deeply loved his church and his special friends. He loved life and its opportunities and brought happiness by reaching out to all around him.
Andy lived with numerous disabilities but was gifted in many special ways. He was extremely compassionate and always desired to help those in need. He frequently asked how people he knew where doing and said he wanted to pray for their needs. He had a simple faith in God but understood God in ways that only can be imagined.
Andy was loved deeply by his family, friends, church and community. He died tragically in an accident in 2004 and is sadly missed by all who knew him.
Our mission is two-fold: To provide financial assistance to individuals and their families with mental, physical and emotional challenges. To provide “Andy Bears” to individuals in need of hope, comfort, security, love and friendship.
Andy’s Light is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, serving the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell and the cities of Lynchburg and Bedford. Andy’s Light intends to work closely with organizations that provide services for:
Andy’s Light currently has two programs: Financial Assistance to Special Friends and Andy Bears.
1. Financial Assistance to Special Friends:
Andy left behind a wake of love and compassion that his family and friends wish to carry on. Many mentally, physically and emotionally challenged individuals slip thru the “cracks” of government programs and thus do not receive adequate dental and medical care, proper clothing and simple recreational opportunities. Andy’s Light intends to raise funds and provide for the needs of mentally, physically and emotionally disabled people and their families.
2. Andy Bear:
When Andy was 12 years old his older brother Jon joined the Air Force and left home for the first time. Jon and Andy had a close relationship and Jon was concerned that leaving would be very detrimental to Andy. The night before Jon left he gave Andy a big brown bear that had belonged to him. He asked Andy to take care of his bear while he was gone and the bear would be his friend. From that time on the bear was known as "Jon Bear".
Andy never separated from Jon Bear; he couldn’t go to sleep without his bear. The bear became his comfort and security; a real part of his brother he could hold on to. Jon Bear was used as an important part of Andy’s therapy programs at John Hopkins Hospital, went on all vacations, and became a very important part of Andy’s life.
When Andy died Jon Bear remained by his side. Anyone that knew Andy knew the significance of the bear. That simple act of brotherly love had brought comfort, joy, security and love to a young man for many years.
In memory of Andy and his "Jon Bear", family and friends have created a project called, "Andy Bear". It is our hope to collect and distribute "Andy Bears" to individuals in need of hope, comfort, security, love and friendship. We will be making distributions to police and sheriff departments, group homes, nursing homes, fire and rescue squads, social services, hospitals, shelters, churches and individuals in need.
You can help by making a tax deductible gift to the Mailing Address via check.
E-mail Address: [email protected]
C/o Brookhill Wesleyan Church
1043 Cifax Road
Forest VA 24551