Auburn's Mr. Penny recovers, calls on community for help

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Johnny Richmond, better known as Mr. Penny in the Auburn community, is determined to attend an AU football game this fall.

"That would be a blessing, I'm going to shock the world," says Richmond.

The Tiger's number one fan, pushup star, and dedicated Dean Road Elementary crossing guard for 37 years has been recovering at his home in Auburn after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head last year.

He took us back to that February day in 2012 and said he was facing internal crisis.

"Everyone was telling me I looked good on the outside, but on the inside I was messed up, but the Lord stayed right by my side. I trust in God, put God first," explains Richmond.

Nearly a year and a half later, Mr. Penny is fighting his way to recovery and couldn't be more thankful for a second chance.

"It was great. Prayer changes things. The Lord says you move one step and I'll move two. That's why I depend on Him."

Now the Auburn community is being asked to rally behind a man that has given so much to them.

Mr. Penny's occupational therapists at the East Alabama Medical Center have started a fund to help purchase a wheelchair-accessible van for him and his family.

This will help Mr. Penny begin his next phase of recovery and come one step closer to his ultimate goal of walking again.

"If the Lord sees fit for us to get this van and we start taking him to his rehab in Opelika and they give him therapy and stuff like that, I think he will be able to walk again," explains Richmond's wife, Lula.

Mr. Penny is anxious to get out in the community again, be on the sidelines at Jordan-Hare stadium, and say thank you to all those who have kept him in their prayers.

"All my kids at Dean Road, I love you and thank you for keeping my spirits high, I love you," Richmond said.

People wishing to donate may do so at any AuburnBank location or by mailing a check (made payable to the Mr. Penny Van Fund) to AuburnBank, Attention Moriah Taylor, 100 N. Gay Street, Auburn, AL 36830.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.