I really don't know where to begin. This new adventure is veteran driven so I might as well start there. I spent three years in the Army. I entered in the delayed entry. I raised my hand September of 1975. I had enough credits to graduate from High School after the first semester of my senior year so I entered January of 1976. I went to Fort Knox for basic training. On completion of basic training I received the Certificate of Achievement Award. From basic I went right to Advanced Training at Fort Rucker for Helicopter Repair Training. Before selecting my training, I scored a high score in recruitment and the recruiters wanted me to go in as a warrent officer and fly the helicopter. I wanted to learn how to fix them before flying them. I ended my training with a high score and I received my crew chief wings. After graduating from basic and AIT I went home and stood in my High School graduation.
I then went to Fort Hood for my first stint. I started out working Physical Maintenance. That is where when scheduled maintenance is required on the helicopter. I worked myself to the team leader position in my second year. There was a freeze on E-3 or PFC for a year, I finally got promoted to E-3 during my second year in. I quickly made E-4 for time in service that was related to my delayed entry. I put in a transfer and was granted and then went to Germany for my last year of enlistment. In Germany I was put on one helicopter as a Crew Chief. That is where I learned to fly and work on the helicopter. The thing I liked most about my job in the Army was I could spend time in the air seeing the country from a birds eye view.
I left the Army in January of 1979 as an E-5 Buck Sargeant. The first thing I wanted to do was go to Parks University just outside of St.Louis Mo. That was the closest aviation school. I want then to learn how to fly and get my pilots license. The semester didn't start till spring, so I decided to get a motorcycle and do some traveling. In March I got in an accident that left me paralyzed from the chest down. What I received from the Army was strength and fortitude I didn't know I had. On the day of the accident my parents were told I was not going to make it. I told the doctor "don't tell them that, please just give me a shot for only the pain is going to kill me". He gave me a shot for the pain and the next thing I knew I was in ICU. After the operation the doctor called me the miracle kid. He told me while I was on the operation table my skin was dark from the blood lost and it looked liked Gods hand waved over me because my skin started to turn back to white starting from my head then going down to my feet. I do feel lucky for making it, they told me my lungs were strong and that was what saved me.
I was always athletic and I started right away playing basketball while I was in rehab, learning how to live in the wheelchair. Right there was a benefit from spending time in the Army. I spent my rehab time in Jefferson Barracks. Once I got out I lived with my parents until my Soc. Sec. kicked in. I did spend some time there. After a few years I made my way to Bay City Michigan.
I went to Delta College in Bay City Michigan. I took classes for Computer Programming. I spent three years persuing my Associates and finished in 1985. I looked for work but every where I went they kept telling me I didn't have the experience. A friend of mine and I formed a wheelchair basketball team while I was attending college. We called the team "Tri City Trotters". This was my first experience with team sports in the wheelchair. I moved around the could not really settle down. I played wheelchair basketball with other teams around Michigan for just under twenty years.
In 1989 I went to State Tech in west Michigan and took more training in Computer Programming. This was on the IBM AS400. This was the new and up coming compter for the time. I finished in 1990 and landed a job with Compuware in Farmington Hills, Michigan. I was on a high profile project with IBM. I was in message design for CICS400. After a year of high pressure I had a break down and could not hold on to a job.
In 1997 I took a trip to Alaska to visit my brother for the summer. I just fell in love with the state and the resources that it has to offer. I moved up May of 1998. Since then my brother and I have been talking about getting a business going. We want to have a business that uses what Alaska has to offer.
Since moving to Alaska my sport life and outdoorsman life has rounded out. In 2006 I was introduced to Alaska Disabled Veterans Sports Program. Before joining ADVSP I was paralyzed for 27 years. I have not participated in a National Veterans event since being injured. ADVSP is geared to get your disable veterans interested in competing in events organized by National Veterans Programs. I did compete in my first Natiional Veterans Wheelchair Games in 2006 when it was hosted by Anchorage. This gave me the drive to compete in the next 3 games in Milwaukee, Omaha and last year in Spokane. I have always competed in Archery and Air Guns and in the last two games I also compted in field events of Shot Put and Javelin. In Archery I medaled the first three games and fell short of the bronze last year. I did get a bronze in shot Put last year in Spokane. The only Gold so far was in Trap shooting in Omaha. That was my second time shooting. I was told my the Sports Director of the Northwest PVA to give PVA trap shooting a try.
In the winter of 2007 I attended the Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Co. I was introduced to sit skiing both in Alpine and Nordic skiing. I was hooked right then. I was introduced to Challege Alaska. Challenge Alaska has a ski resort on Mt. Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. I have been sit skiing with them since 2007. I am now in the process of reciving a ski from the Veterans Administration which I will be fitted this year in Snowmass when I attent this years Winter Sports Clinic.
I was introduced to another sport of sled hockey. I am now in my forth year. This was organized by Challenge Alaska. This is another sport I am hooked to. I was introduced to Challenge Athletes Foundation. Challenge Athletes Foundation give out grants to disabled athletes to get sporting equipment or pay for travel to an event to compete in or training. I put in for a grant to get hockey equipment. I was apporved and now I am all geared up for sled hockey. I have improved evey year and I was voted alternate captain on my team. Our team the Alaska Avalance went to Buffalo last year and competed in a USA Hockey tournament. This was the first time our team competed against other teams. We tied once and lost the other games. Our team did learn qite a bit and our practices reflect it this year.
In the summer when I am not gearing up for a National Veterans event I fish and camp around the state. Last year I fished for the first time on the Kenai River. I was introduced to Dan McDowell and his son Sean. They have a fishing guide outfit called "The Last Frontiersman". What I liked most about his outfit is he is open to giving discounts to veterans. I fished tree times with him last summer. I caught fish every time out. I took photos and posted them in our local Sportsman Warehouse. My photos were noticed and I won a monthly contest and my trip is going to be published in their news.
Before fishing on the Kenai River I camped with my brother in Seward, Alaska. There are differnt ways I camp. I have a tent and I have a town and country mini van. The mini van has stow and go seating. I put the seats down in the floor and I put a pad down with a sleeping bag and sleep in the back. I also have a tent with a cot and use the pad on that when I am in the woods. In Seward I slept in the back of the van and I am glad I worked the bugs out of it because that is how I camped the night before and after my fishing trips on the Kenai River.
So here I am in Willow, Alaska. I bought for acres of standing timber and my brother built my house in the middle of it. It might be out of the way, but I love it and I look forward to continuing to take advantage of what Alaska has to offer.