Amanda, age 24, lives with spastic diplegia and scoliosis. To get to work every day, Amanda drove her power wheelchair along the sidewalk for miles each way - whether it was raining, snowing, sleeting or bright and sunny. A very special person at her workplace, Mike, noticed and together with his wife, Gayle, decided that they would donate a wheel
chair van to Amanda so she could drive to work. But this wasn't any wheelchair van! This was a van used by Gayle's father - a WW II veteran who had recently passed away.
The only problem was that Amanda had never driven a vehicle befor
e. Therefore, she needed an adaptive vehicle evaluation to determine her special needs for driving with hand controls. If her evaluation showed that she could drive with hand controls, she would then need twice weekly driving lessons in a specialized vehicle for many months before she could obtain a driver license. All this is done in an adaptive driving program and the person evaluating and training her is licensed by the state and a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.
NAF helped Amanda with her driving evaluation at the end of 2017 and her recently finished driving lessons. She was ready to get her vehicle! Hand controls specific to Amanda were installed on the vehicle and Amanda was presented with the Chrysler Town & Country last week. It only had 18,000 miles on it!
Gayle Biggers gave this wonderful gift of love in her father's name - J.D. MADEWELL 01/14/1923 - 2/11/2015
This amazing story of love and generosity wouldn't be complete without giving you J.D.'s bio (given to us by his daughter, Gayle).
J.D., along with his brother and one cousin, decided to enlist in WWII in the summer of 1942.
J.D. enlisted in the Navy but was put in the Army
His military service began on December 4, 1942, where he took the oath of service in Dallas
before boarding a train to California for boot camp. Following boot camp, orders were received that he
would be in the infantry and be traveling Scotland. While there he learned he would be part of the operations to land on Omaha Beach of Normandy, France; on
D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The night before his unit was to land on the beach, his commanding officer
gathered the 10 of them and said: "Gentlemen, make your peace because at least 7 of you
probably won't make it." J.D.
was understandably afraid and as they were making their way toward the beach he was praying and told God he would give anything to go home.
He survived the beach landing and said that every step he took was over a body or a body part.
What a terrible tragedy for so many; over 2000 soldiers died on Omaha Beach that day.
The following months, soldiers would be making their way through France and Belgium to what would become the Battle of the Bulge. On November 20, 1944 J.D., along with 3 comrades, was walking ahead of army tanks when he stepped on a landmine. He was 21 years old. The blast killed his 3 comrades and thrust him in the air and then to the ground. He had lost his leg from the knee down and laid on the battlefield two hours, looking at his leg some distance away, before help would arrive. He was able to survive the blast due to the blast forcing the leg arteries up and cauterizing at the same time. Otherwise, he would have died from blood loss. He also lost a small piece of his nose and the hearing in one ear.
Once help arrived following the explosion, J.D. was taken to a field hospital where he says
people held him down while Medics used a machete to cut off a bit more of his leg to keep gangrene from setting in. He then was flown to the hospital where surgery would take more of his leg which left him with about a 7-inch stump. He says that during his recovery he realized that God had answered the prayer to get him home: not in the way he expected but he was going
It would be almost a year before he was honorably discharged; September 28, 1945. Once home,
he went to a business school; became an accountant and retired after 28 years with the electric
company in his hometown of Palestine, TX.
For his military service, he would receive the EAME Medal; 3 Bronze Service Stars and the