National Mobility Awareness Month Partners:

Michael Boyd

Cookeville, TN

Entry Photo for Michael Boyd - Cookeville, TN

It was a normal humid summer morning as Michael hopped into his work van. Today would be a hot July 13. As he headed away from home toward the construction site 25 minutes away he did not realize it would be six months later till he returned.

Tragedy struck at 1:30 that 1994 afternoon. A scaffold fail sent him 18 headfirst feet to the ground resulting in a broken neck and paralysis. How he pursued his hands-on livelihood and life in general changed in two downhill seconds.

Sirens, needles, surgery and ceilings filled the next few hours. During rehab months Michael determined to pursue life by seeking to turn tragedy into triumph.

Following an interview for an HGTV program the cameraman commented to Michael, “you don’t seem to be letting this get you down. What is the silver lining behind all this?” Michael’s reply, “my independence turned in favor of being far more dependent on a power much greater and stronger than Michael Boyd.”

Since that eventful day when the pursuit of life for Michael changed in an instant he chose to let triumph have its way by not sitting still. Part of that triumph was put in motion in 2000 when the generosity of friends and family gave him a new van and freedom to be independent with his transportation.

Independent transportation freedom has allowed Michael to remain active in his community volunteering by serving on the regional and state Family Support Councils, a steering committee for bicycle and pedestrian routes here in Cookeville, a grief recovery discussion facilitator for Heart of the Cumberland, an advisory board member for Tennessee Central Heritage Rail with Trail, and a Pathfinder instructor with the kids at his church. He served as the director of a campus ministry, Adventist Christian Fellowship on the Tennessee Tech University campus and is currently serving on the Amerigroup Advisory Board, and on the Cookeville Leisure Services Advisory Board.

Michael isn’t quitting as he remains active at handcycling, snow skiing, kayaking and keeping his wheelchair exploring parks, ski slopes and accessible greenways. His activity in turn has been a positive inspiration often noticed by others.

With 16 years and over 192K faithful miles on his Dodge minivan Michael is praying for a dependable replacement. Your daily votes could score an upgrade and continued triumph for him. A quote Michael often shares, “Where there’s a wheel there’s a way!”