Matthew Rymer Natchez, MS 11,204 Votes
Matthew Rymer is quiet spoken, polite and one of the toughest people I know. On New Year’s Day 2010, Matthew was in a car accident that left both him and the driver quadriplegics. The day before this tragedy, Matthew was a high school senior, a defensive lineman on Trinity Episcopal School’s football team and the recipient of a college football scholarship. The next day, he was on a ventilator with an incomplete spinal cord injury, clinging to life.
Matthew slowly and painfully recovered some function. Early on, he refused help, insisting on doing as much as he could for himself. Multiple bouts of pneumonia, chronic infections, and recently a broken leg have slowed him down, but not stopped him. He truly has the heart of a warrior! Matthew has come to therapy sessions at Natchez Regional Medical Center half sick, because he truly believes his only chance at independence is hard work. He does this without complaining and with quiet strength and an humble spirit.
I asked Matthew once if he was angry or bitter about the accident and he responded with absolute sincerity, “No, why should I be? No one meant for this to happen.”
Matthew doesn’t believe in looking back at what he has lost, but instead he looks ahead to achieving his goals. He is a full-time college student and has therapy four days a week. Family members transport him to school and therapy sessions. None of their cars are wheelchair accessible. Matthew has to manage his 6’2” frame in and out of various vehicles to get to his destinations. Still, he rarely misses school or a therapy session.
Matthew’s goals are to attend college out of town, live on campus and find a job. This van would be an enormous help to a deserving young man with a real need and also a reward for his tremendous efforts. He has done amazingly well so far with so very little. Imagine how much better he would do with this wonderful gift of a van from the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA).
Matthew’s strength and determination are a great lesson to all of us. A lesson in the power of the spirit over the body, a lesson in grace, a lesson in humility, and a lesson in hope. I know I am blessed and fortunate to have the privilege of working with this outstanding young man.