Testimonials

I grew up fishing and hunting with my dad, uncles and cousins, but when I got into high school and college, I was busy enough that hunting and fishing was no longer a focus.  During the summer of 1995, after my junior year of college at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas where I was studying engineering and aviation, I contracted Bacterial Meningitis which resulted in the amputation of both of my legs and my left arm.  Following a difficult 2 ½ month long hospital stay, 23 surgeries, which included extensive skin grafting, I, like most people, thought my life was over.
Falling into a place of self-doubt and not knowing what God’s plan was for my life, I spiraled into depression and loss of self-worth.  But, as 2 Corinthians 9:12 states “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  God’s grace was sufficient for me, and through the encouragement of family and friends, I started back at LeTourneau University only 11 months later.  That said, it was not easy because in addition to learning how to walk and live with prosthetics, I lost much of my short term memory and had to learn to write with my right hand (I was left handed).  God granted me the peace that transcends all understanding and I was able to graduate with an Electrical and Mechanical Engineering degree with and Aviation Concentration and move to Wichita, Kansas for a job in the aircraft industry.
Redeemer was an excellent experience after having to go through the process of figuring out how to adapt to fishing.  When you wear three prosthetics, falling into water is not a good thing and I have been on fishing boats that are not designed for people like myself or maybe you.  After going out on the Chesapeake on Redeemer, it was apparent that there was significant thought that went into the design and build of this boat.  While I can walk and get around on my prosthetics, I went on this trip with my wheelchair to look at the ease of entry from getting out of my vehicle to the boat dock to actual entry onto the boat.  What an amazing job they did with designing the details.  It does not matter your level of assistance you need; the parking, the dock and boat are designed and equipped well for people on prosthetics, manual chairs, power chairs, walkers and anything between.  If you are in a position that you may need facilities while on the water, there is an electric lift that will lower you to the bathroom on the lower level that will make you wish every ADA bathroom was designed this way with plenty of space for maneuvering even a larger power chair.  In addition to the cabin area, a large portion of the main deck is covered so if you are sensitive to getting wet, there is a place for you to go to stay dry.
After moving to Wichita for the job, I had an opportunity to return to the family farm in western Kansas and started hunting and fishing again.  “But how am I going to do this when I am so broken” are the thoughts that ran through my head.  Through working with my family to find the best ways to adapt for bird and deer hunting, we found a solution that works; I hunt from a 4 wheeler and can use my prosthetic arm to shoot.  Fishing was the same, after some trial and error, I was able to fish and have enjoyed both for years now.  I have been blessed with an amazing wife and 4 children and I look forward to being able to do these activities with them going into the future.
I would encourage anyone who has the desire to go fishing or just be on a boat in the Chesapeake, no matter your level of ability, you will be able to do this and will thoroughly enjoy the boat, the ride and the wonderful people who have worked hard to make this dream possible.