Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wheelchair Superman: Rich Jeckstadt

Everybody has their "Superman" when it comes to their wheelchair.

We all know the situations; backed into something and pinched the power cable, home health aide takes off armrest, unplugs cable so male and female ends don't mesh; cable coming out of joystick box gets frayed by swing-away action; any of dozens of scenarios can occur, leaving you freaking out because your powerchair will not move!

I've had each of these happen to me and have sat in various friends' and family members' garages doing everything possible to get my chair going. Several times we've tried to mend those teensy tiny wires inside those cables and it's almost impossible to get a good connection across the board!

So I've been pushed into my vehicle and locked into the driver's position, or had my vehicle brought to me when I was broken down on the sidewalks of my town, and scrambled to get to Fox Medical in Collinsville, Illinois, before my trusted superhero Rich Jackstact heads home for the day. Yes indeed, when it comes to my wheelchair, Rich is my Superman!

I can't tell you how many times I've shown up wigging out because my Quickie powerchair has been completely dead. Every time, Rich eases himself down onto a knee, moves a battery this way or that, checks the tightness of a handle here or there, perhaps walks to the back of the shop to grab something from his box of spare parts. Every time, I triumphantly buzz back out to the parking lot.

After withstanding my exaggerated raining down of compliments as to his genius, he always comes back with something like, "Ah man, it's cool... I'm just glad I could help."

Then he'll ask me about what's going on with Changing Stares. He listens intently as I excitedly throw out the best of what's shaped up lately, and when I talk about some of the other products I hope to bring to market eventually. I gather that Rich has seen a lot in his days. He is of the Vietnam era. He has an appreciation for life and things good... I certainly see those qualities when he talks about his grandchild, or pats me on the back for all the hard work we're putting into trying to make a difference for people in wheelchairs.

To this everyday words cannot do justice, but I'll try.

"Thank you Rich... you are truly a treasure."

Monday, January 17, 2011