“Take him home, buy him a television and wait for him to die” was told to my father December 1968. On July 10, 1966 a swimming accident left me a C-5/6 quadriplegic. Against the advice of the nursing staff At Elizabethtown Crippled Children’s Hospital, my parents made a decision to care for me at home. In 1966 there was little hope for rehabilitation of quadriplegics and health-care statistics were stacked against me.
Before my accident I was an avid fisherman, the Susquehanna River and I were best friends. Our family was a hunting family, hunting for food and not just sport, we were not a well-to-do family.
After I was discharged from Elizabethtown Hospital, I started to assemble fishing lures and selling fishing equipment, including night crawlers that my mother would catch after it rained. I saved every dime, putting it back into the business. In addition to fishing equipment, I sold a limited amount of hunting merchandise, made Christmas wreathes from IBM punch cards, and did a limited amount of needlepoint. Everything I made went back into having more items available to sell. Also before my accident, during ninth grade of public-school, I became interested in electronics. Although I was selling hunting and fishing equipment, I knew, electronics was my future.
After several attempts through the vocational rehabilitation department it was determined that I was not physically able to service electronic equipment. Okay, if rehab would not supply money for a correspondence course, I will do it on my own. Of course the computer had not been invented and courses could not be taken online. Public and private schools were not equipped to handle handicapped students. After starting my correspondence course, I received a new counselor from the rehabilitation department and upon his recommendation I contacted the local state representative. One call from the representative to vocational rehabilitation, a decision was made to pay for the remaining one third of my correspondence course. Sometimes government works!
Around 1972 I started my career into electronics, phasing out the hunting, fishing etc. CB radio was becoming popular and God put me at the right place at the right time. I hired two students that were attending a local electronics school, started working on CB radios, and by 1974 outgrew my parent’s garage and I built a structure across the street to house the business. Of course my golden rule was to “to treat customers the way I want to be treated” and impressed this on my employees. My business was not a large business, two full-time technicians, two part-time, one full-time office person, including myself and my wife. Throughout my life we have seen hundreds, no thousands of miracles that can only be explained by one thing; God does exist!
Around 1984 my wife was able to quit her job and work for the business full-time. We expanded the business into public safety equipment, were able to expand through business mailers into more than 12 states. Advertisement through a national fire magazine generated sales and service throughout the United States. Life was good, we were growing.
Then it happened, my wife, my main caregiver, went to the wrong doctor and now is permanently disabled. Snowed under with medical bills from both of us, we were forced to close the doors or sell the business at a bargain price. We entered into an agreement and were able to generate enough to pay our medical bills. We lost much of our savings, but God was gracious in many areas.
I have now involved myself in activities in our church, taken on much responsibility in a fledgling historical society in our town, and involve myself in some other volunteer activities. I’d try and find ways to give back to my community.
I needed a wheelchair in 1968, but couldn’t afford one, but one was provided by the community. They raised funds through meals held by volunteers by the local fire department and Lions Club. I owe much to my God, community, church and friends