Life sure has its ups and downs. Don Dehring discovered that on November 3, 1999. While working on the construction of a new home, a sudden gust of wind blew over a ladder, knocking Don on the head. He tumbled ten feet to the ground and sustained a complete C6-C7 spinal cord injury.
Result? Paralyzed from the chest down. Out of work as a self-employed carpenter.
Throughout his nearly five-month rehabilitation, Don determined he would return to work as a building consultant. However, the manual wheelchair initially issued to him, just wouldn't cut it—especially around the rough terrain of construction sites.
Don's therapist at Mary Free Bed wrote: "Don plans to return to work as a building consultant…would require him to drive a vehicle independently, as well as maneuver…over [grass], gravel and inclining surfaces. These skills are not possible for him in a manual wheelchair."
So Alternatives in Motion gave him a power chair. And guess what? On November 9, 2000—just a few days past the anniversary of his injury—Don drove his wheelchair four and a half miles to a Habitat for Humanity construction site where he offered suggestions and answered building-type questions—a step toward achieving his goal.
Oh, life still has its ups and downs—but at least traversing ramps, going camping, toolin' around construction sites and enjoying community life are definitely on the up side.