Knoxville man a hero for moving states to help friend after stroke

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – We’ve all had a friend in need at some point in our lives. How far would you go to help a friend?

Once a week, you’ll find Fred Schneck at Fish of Knox County, the local pantry that provides meals to more than 8,000 families each month.

Schneck is a willing and cheerful volunteer there, but that’s not all the transplanted Knoxvillian does. Schneck also spends time nearly every day at Brookdale Assisted Living with John Walker, a former attorney who suffered a catastrophic stroke two and a half years ago.

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Schneck moved to Knoxville from Pennsylvania when Walker had his health setback; it’s something he did for him and for Walker’s wife Pat, an executive with UT Medical Center. Walker suffered the stroke only a year after he and his wife decided on a later in life marriage.

“I was only going to stay like a week, and then I saw how things were really. Because she puts on like there’s not anything to bother yourself with. ‘Don’t bother, we’ve got it under control.’ Well, it wasn’t under control,” Schneck said.

“Fred went straight to work saying, ‘This is fine. I’m here I’m going to help you. I’ve got a couple weeks off.’ That was two and a half years ago,” said Pat Walker.

Schneck is a consultant for the steel industry, an accomplished runner who took part in the Boston Marathon, and he loves to travel. He’s given up most of that for the time being, becoming a layperson learning how to help Walker with different types of therapy: more than the 45 minutes a day many stroke patients receive.

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“It has to be a lot more intensive than that,” Schneck said. “And not just intensity but that repetition because you’re building those thought waves through the brain the you’re trying to build new highways.”

To have a friend like Schneck has made such a difference in this couple’s lives.


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