You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Frank Gray

  • Paulding reports big-cat sightings
    It’s not necessarily a case of who’s hunting whom, but over in Paulding County, Ohio, there have been reports of a big cat – a really big cat – lurking in the woods and fields a few miles southeast of the county seat.
  • ‘Never give up’ is warrior’s way
    Travis Mills was a staff sergeant on his third tour in Afghanistan on April 10, 2012, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device.
  • D-Day tokens find their way home
    Last spring, we ran a column about a woman named Joanne Schultz-Ithier and the fact that she had been invited to the dedication of a monument in the little village of Tamerville, France, honoring her father and other Americans who had been shot down
Advertisement

From great loss comes rich blessings

Sometimes dark clouds really do have silver linings.

Last week, we wrote about a man named Jason Garcia, who has been dealing with cerebral palsy since he was born 43 years ago.

He’s never been able to walk, and if he put braces on his legs and tried to walk with crutches, his ankles would break, he says.

But about 10 years ago he and his father pooled their money and bought him a custom-fit, all-terrain wheelchair that let him go anywhere.

Since moving to Fort Wayne from Colorado to live with his mother about a year ago, Garcia used that wheelchair to get everywhere he wanted to go – the grocery, the drugstore, downtown – and he bragged about how fast he was.

Then someone stole the wheelchair off his front porch, essentially stealing his legs, Garcia said, leaving him confined to his home, where he got about by dragging himself along the floor.

Sometimes, though, the public reacts when rotten people do rotten things to innocent folks.

Someone gave Garcia a used wheelchair, not an all-terrain model like he had, but it at least gave him some mobility.

Then numerous people showed up at Garcia’s home and offered donations to help him buy a new wheelchair. Others contributed to a fund set up at Three Rivers Federal Credit Union.

Then a local business owner who’s been in the paper a lot lately called and said he wanted to do something nice for someone, so he offered to buy Garcia a new wheelchair, another Quickie 2 – just like the one that was stolen. Yes, it would be expensive, but so what?

Within hours, a representative from a local medical supply company was at Garcia’s house taking measurements for a new custom-designed chair. It would take about three weeks to get the chair, the owner of the medical supply business said.

Then Garcia’s mother got a card in the mail. It was from Turnstone, which helps people with disabilities. Among the things it does is build ramps. Perhaps it could help.

That would be handy. Garcia’s mother doesn’t drive, so once a week his sister takes them to the grocery. But a steep hill in their front yard requires Garcia to get in his wheelchair, cut through the backyard to an alley and go around the block to get to the car.

Whether it will even be possible to build a ramp has yet to be determined, but Turnstone will investigate.

Meanwhile, Turnstone officials said, they will try to let Garcia know about other services that are available to him.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at fgray@jg.net. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.

Advertisement