Paul Ward’s Grit gives him more Freedom

Paul Ward’s Grit gives him more Freedom

March 30, 2022 0 By Hawkeye Johnson
Testimonial by Paul Ward
Paul Ward in the Grit Freedom Chair in the woods on Long Island, New York. Photo courtesy of Paul Ward.

One of my first vacation memories as a kid is going to the beaches on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and having to wait for my dad to put me on his shoulders so we could travel over the deep sand. Eventually, our family would pick a spot where we would set up for the day. I’d sit on a blanket and pretty much be stuck there as I looked out on the ocean from afar. I’d be so envious of the kids who were able to go back and forth from their blanket to the water with ease. As a child who used a wheelchair that was an all-to-common feeling.

My grandfather had a passion for going to the Adirondack Mountains and taking in the wilderness of upstate New York and our family often joined him on these adventures. After I was too big to be piggybacked on family hikes, he changed to taking me boating and fishing. Those early experiences in the Adirondacks fueled my deep fondness for the outdoors and the desire to be out in nature only grew as I got older. However, like the beach, there would usually be a tree line where a person in a wheelchair couldn’t traverse any further due to an uneven path with roots and rocks.

‘I’ve always been determined to not let these obstacles stop me and now, they don’t! The GRIT Freedom Chair makes those former challenges much less daunting.”

Paul Ward

Over this past year, I was able, I was able to make my way to the ocean’s edge for the first time and to explore the woods more freely. I couldn’t have done that without the support of the GoHawkeye Foundation equipment grant to purchase the all-terrain GRIT Freedom Chair. GoHawkeye helped me to open new worlds and find the freedom that six-year-old me never thought would be possible. For that, I will be forever grateful.

This is how Paul Ward gets it done …

with a new sense of “Freedom” from an equipment grant by the GoHawkeye Foundation.