Just look around you, inspiration is everywhere

Published 1:29 pm Friday, June 7, 2019

As I have tried to adjust my life to being on a walker and living on the BLT adage (no bending, no lifting and no twisting) I get discouraged just trying to do ordinary tasks of self-care.

But then, I consider my neighbor Mike Rutland, who gets around my neighborhood on his self-propelled wheelchair daily. He is an inspiration for me when I think I just cannot do some task.

As a young man of 19, Mike was working in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on a construction site when he fell, crushing his spine. Since November 30, 1987, Mike has been paralyzed from the waist down; but he has never let that stop him.

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He pushes his way around our neighborhood, rain or shine, doing four miles a day. He stops to visit with all he sees and as a result he has become our neighborhood watch person. If anything is out of order, he knows it and reports it.

His upper body strength is phenomenal and he uses it on all sorts of tasks. He mows his own lawn and cares for his plants and trees. “I am a very independent, person,” he declares, and is a bit of a Jack of all trades.

He loves to barbecue and shares his creations with his extended family and friends.

Mike loves sports. He has played wheel chair basketball and even coached little league baseball and basketball programs in Cairo, his hometown. His favorite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys and his collegiate football team favorites are split between Georgia and FSU. His wife Traci and her children are there for him and he for them.

He loves to fish and takes his boat and friends out on his fishing expeditions to Lake Seminole and beyond.

So, every time I am supposed to walk my 20-minute schedule two times a day, and I would much rather sit and read a book, I see Michael rolling by the house and I know I can certainly do that small task toward my recovery.

Mike has a very caring personality. He wants to help anyone in anyway he can.

His strength, stamina and joyful spirit are an inspiration to all who know him.