Don’t let anyone set limitations for you

I just finished listening to the Kyle Maynard podcast and I’m crying my eyes out, not about Kyle’s story (which was mind-blowingly amazing), but for the listener who wrote in about going to the woods to end his life and this podcast popping up on his phone. That’s the impact you guys are having with this podcast, so please never quit:) I listen to one of your podcasts each morning as I get ready for work. It starts my day on the right note, reminds me to practice gratitude, makes me laugh, makes me cry. And as I listen to one by one, I am constantly reminded that I’ve always had my own personal never quit reminder. My dad served in Vietnam as an airplane mechanic in the Air Force. When he returned, he got his pilot’s license and became a pilot for the Indiana State Police, flying both single and multi engine airplanes and helicopters. He also served as a helicopter pilot in the Army National Guard. On May 31, 1981 an acquaintance convinced him to take a ride in a Beech T-34B as he tried to convince my dad to join his aviation club. As the guy performed various stunt moves to show off, he hit some power lines and crashed the plane in a field. The other guy died, my dad survived. He was burned over a large portion of his body and all bones outside his torso were broken, with his ankles bearing the most damage – they were crushed. He was Lifelined to the trauma center in Indianapolis where surgeons performed numerous surgeries to put him back together – silicone implants holding his eyes in place, fake teeth, steel pins and rods and screws all throughout his extremities, and of course the burns. After they were all finished, they told my dad that he’d never walk again and probably never fly. Well, that simply wasn’t an option for my dad – he had 3 kids at home aged 6, 4 and 6 months. Within a year he was walking and flying again. He went on to serve in multiple rescue missions with both the State Police and the Army National Guard. Once he retired from the State Police, he went on to fly for the helicopter company that had Lifelined him many years before. He did that for 10 years until he got to the point where he wasn’t able to stand or walk long enough to do the job. When I went with him to talk to an ankle surgeon to discuss his options, I sat there with such pride as the surgeon sat in disbelief as he reviewed the xrays from 1981 to 2014. He just kept looking at the xrays and looking at my dad and saying that it wasn’t possible, that none of it made sense. In all the years that he had been performing surgery on ankles, he had never seen anything like it. It was simple for my dad though, not walking and not supporting his family wasn’t something that he allowed as an option. My dad is the most humble man I’ve ever known. He doesn’t make a big deal out of his accomplishments and he certainly doesn’t expect any special treatment. I’ve never heard my dad complain about anything – not that he was in the crash, not that he couldn’t run, not that he was in pain every day. That was the hand he was dealt, and he spent his time and energy being thankful for what he did have. Every day of my life, I have had that constant reminder to never let anyone else set limitations for what I’m capable of. I love your podcasts because they are filled with people like my dad. Thank you for what you do for so many.

Author: Nanette