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John W.

New year, new life.

There’s no denying that James Bond is, in a word, cool.

The fast cars, latest gadgets, tech, and beautiful women…he has it all. Growing up, John W. knew he likely wouldn’t have the opportunity to join MI6 like 007, especially given that he was born and raised in rural Louisiana and not the United Kingdom.

So, he decided to do the next best thing and pursue a career in law enforcement. 

He spent more than two decades working as a police officer in Louisiana, later presiding over the Louisiana Police Officers Association, a 4,000-member organization comprised of state, city, municipal police, and even private investigators. He even received the Public Servant of the Year award for his distinguished service.

But some of his favorite years revolved around working with a response unit that had a big impact on the local community. “Nowadays, they’re more like SWAT teams,” he told us. “But we were more like regular patrol officers at that time. They had eight murders in that area the year prior. By that time the next year, it was down to one. We felt pretty good about what we were doing to help.”

It was around that time that John first started having pain in his leg. He went to a cardiovascular doctor who realized the issue was bigger than just his limbs. He had stints put in, did a bypass, and realized his arteries were still clogged. Then, somehow, it got worse.

“I was active, but my leg would have a lack of blood flow, which was pretty painful,” John explained. “It got bad enough that they had to remove my leg two years ago.”

At first, he attended therapy and tried to learn how to use a prosthetic and navigate his new normal, but he developed arthritis in his lower back that required immediate attention. John underwent surgery, but during the procedure, suffered a stroke that cost him his night vision. By the time it was all said and done, he was never able to wear a prosthetic because of the pain.

It was a crushing blow and difficult transition for the 25-year police veteran and active community member. But John isn’t one to spend long feeling bad for himself.

His mother ran a junk store for more than 50 years, and he got really good at finding stuff that he, or those around him, could use. “If you’re looking for something, I probably have it,” he joked. 

After he retired from the police department, he began spending more time on his hobbies, crafting things in his workshop, hunting, and spending as much time as possible outdoors. Unfortunately, the loss of his leg and impact on his mobility affected him more than he ever imagined.

John resides in a rural part of Louisiana. And as we heard from past recipient Sydni, also a Louisiana native, the state has many areas with limited or no accessibility. He spent more than two decades of his life in service to his community, continually putting his life and well-being on the line. Now, it was time to retire and enjoy the fruits of his labor, only to be held back by a life-changing circumstance completely out of his control. Talk about unfair. 

Once again, John was determined to find a way to continue doing what he loved. He began by looking for mobility chairs that could handle the rough terrain. Manual wheelchairs simply wouldn’t be able to handle anything other than smooth surfaces, and that wasn’t going to work for him.

Eventually, he landed on the Action Trackchair website. They easily could have been featured in any James Bond movie - the tech looks that impressive. But after looking at the cost, John realized he’d have to replicate a winning hand in “Casino Royale” to pull it off. They’re worth it, certainly. But how?

John called a rep from the company who agreed it’d have a huge impact on his lifestyle. As for the cost, he recommended John reach out to an organization committed to helping first responders like him with medically-related needs. Chive Charities

Through the support of your monthly donations, we funded the full cost of John’s Action Trackchair for a total impact of $21,905.

“You can’t imagine what this has been like for me,” John told us. “I see, and I feel the change. I’ve enjoyed a great life. Because of Chive Charities, I’m able to continue that in the way I want. It’s been a lifesaver, a big life change. If you donated to make this possible for me, all I can say is thank you.”

John received the chair a day before Thanksgiving, which he found fitting given his gratitude. He uses it to stand upright at his workbench and perform some minor yardwork for his neighbors. (“They pay me in links of boudin and sausage,” he said.) Not long after, he took it out for a spin on a hunting trip, sharing his new view with us.

John also added a note to his last email to us. His message: “I want to keep in touch with you, so when the time comes that I can’t use the chair, I can return it to you to pass on to another veteran.”

A heart of service, through and through.

For all those who helped make this possible, thank you for supporting first responders like John. These selfless heroes who give so much of themselves are usually the last to ask for help. When they do, it’s even more important to hear them. For John, it provided a new lease on life. Even Bond would be impressed. Become part of our mission to make the world 10% happier for heroes just like him. DONATE HERE.

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