Resident of Veterans’ Program finds happiness and purpose
Michael’s life changed when he hit a semi at 70 miles per hour. He was paralyzed from the neck down for 5 weeks. Due to the accident, Michael had to give up his 20-year welding career. After experiencing a double pneumonia, Michael began treating his pain with alcohol. Michael knew that he needed to leave his current “toxic living situation” so that he could “be in an environment that was supportive of [his] recovery…and [his] dreams.”
Since moving into COTS’ Veterans’ Program, Michael has completed over 300 hours of volunteer service. Even though he receives disability, he is determined to resolve his health issues. He is using his Y membership that he receives as a COTS resident to start an intensive rehabilitation program. After attending a “Healthy Back” workshop at COTS, Michael started regularly seeing a chiropractor. “Work and rehabilitation is a priority right now,” he says. Attending school to receive his Bachelor’s Degree is also on the horizon; he received his Associate’s Degree from UW-Fox Valley.
Michael was recently reunited with his three children after not seeing them for 30 years. He just spent four days with his daughter and grandson, who are living nearby. “It was just awesome…I finally felt like I was at home,” he stated with a smile. “It’s a whole different world hugging your daughter.”
Michael gives special thanks to his caretaker, who has supported him through all of his medical issues. “If you just stick with it, the opportunities are endless. I’m happier, I’m more useful to society. And I smile a lot.”