‘There’s always hope’: Hubbard man celebrates 38th birthday after given 5 years to live

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Vinny Bruner wants to be a symbol of hope for others

HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – A Hubbard man is defying the odds and inspiring a community one smile at a time.

It hasn’t been an easy road for Vinny Bruner.

“I was born with spina bifida and the doctor told my parents I wouldn’t live past five. I am now 38 years old,” he said.

Thirty-eight and thriving.

“His disability doesn’t stop him from doing anything,” said Becky Prelee, Bruner’s guardian.

“Vinny is just a sign of hopefulness, that there’s always hope in no matter what circumstances that you face,” said Deacon John Bartos, St. Patrick’s Church in Hubbard.

Bruner is very active at St. Patrick’s Church. They recently built him a ramp to get on stage. He now sings in the choir and rings the bells during services.

He is also a die-hard Hubbard Eagles fan — you could say Bruner is the football team’s biggest supporter.

“Every year, they are the brothers I don’t have,” he said.

Bruner wants to be a symbol of hope for others.

“Don’t let your disability hinder you … So you have to adapt a little bit, so what? Just live every day like you weren’t supposed to,” he said.

“He is an inspiration. He doesn’t let the wheelchair confine him,” Prelee said.

The people closest to him know Bruner is more than just a symbol, he’s a part of the community that can never be replaced.

“He’s inspired everybody to do more than you ever thought you could do,” Deacon Bartos said.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and Vinny gives so much back to everybody,” Prelee said.

Reporter Keely Lovern: “Do you feel proud of yourself?”
Bruner: “Heck yeah. I feel that I’ve accomplished many accomplishments and I’m not done yet.”

Bruner and his family are looking to adopt a service dog. If you have any information or details that could help, just give Prelee a call at 234-254-4412.

You can also find Vinny Bruner or Becky Prelee on Facebook, or you can reach out to Lovern at keely.lovern@wkbn.com.

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