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6,088
Votes

Jennifer Austin

Cowan, TN

Entry Photo for Jennifer Austin - Cowan, TN

My name is Ashlee Austin and I am nominating my sister, Jennifer Austin, as my hometown hero! She is 27 years old and we are from Cowan, Tennessee. Jennifer is far more than just a hero to me and our small hometown, she is also a fighter and a survivor. In September of 2006 she was involved in a tragic hit and run car accident that changed our lives forever. For three days the doctors gave her little to no chance of surviving due to all of the internal trauma to her body, including a spinal cord injury at the cervical 5-6 level making her quadriplegic and wheelchair bound for life.

Throughout this time and for several months after, even with all of the damage to her body, she never gave up. We prayed for the good lord to heal her and thanks to all the prayers and support we received from family, friends, and strangers, and Jennifer’s strength and perseverance, she is still here today inspiring every person she meets. Her positive attitude and genuine gratitude for life is practically contagious! She is a reminder to all of us that life is precious and regardless of the struggles we may face, God placed us on this earth for a purpose; and Jennifer’s purpose is far greater than she ever imagined.

Through hard work, she is now getting ready to graduate with a Masters in health from Middle Tennessee State University! This year she has had the opportunity to intern for People First of Tennessee which is a self-advocacy and disability rights organization run by and for people with disabilities. She has met the most incredible individuals with all different types of disabilities who have shown her that regardless of your limitations, NOTHING is impossible! She would like to continue her work in advocating for people with disabilities and plans to start a group mentoring program to empower low income transitional age youth with disabilities to gain a greater understanding of their disabilities and/or special health care needs, access community resources, and connect with peers.

Jennifer has so many hopes and dreams and winning this contest would help her to fulfill all of these and so much more! This opportunity would be life changing and would finally give her the independence she so desperately wants. She deserves this SO much, so please pick my sister as your hometown hero!!! Thanks!