Editor’s note: We are Onslow is a weekly feature highlighting Onslow County’s residents. To suggest a person to be featured, visit JDNews.com/WeAreOnslow or email localdesk@JDNews.com.

I was born in New Bern, and have lived here pretty much my whole life. I used to work for the State Department, Department of Transportation. I enjoyed it. I worked with heavy equipment. But I was messing around on a trampoline one day, about 12 years ago, and I landed on my shoulder. Arthritis shot into my spine. It ended up putting a hole in the center of it, in number two, and I became paralyzed right away. They said if it would have been number one that I wouldn’t be here. They thought I was going to be paralyzed for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to stay around anymore. I was miserable. I just as soon died, but they don’t put you out of your misery like that, so I had to keep going.

I went to group therapy for a while, with other people who had spinal injuries, and that was pretty nice. I stayed in Greenville for about 3 1/2 months. About a month and a half into it my legs started to wake up, and a little while after that I was able to use my left arm, and now I am able to use my other arm some. I am able to take care of myself pretty well. I feel pretty good. The nerves burn, but I take nerve medicine. That helps some.

I have been (in Onslow House Assisted Living) for nine years. I stayed in New Bern for two years in a nursing home, but it wasn’t all that great. They didn’t take good care of you. My sister found this place and I have been here ever since. I like it pretty good. We got Wal-Mart, eating places right close by, if you want to go out. Got my freedom. I can’t drive or nothing, but I can walk. I am like a turtle, but I soon get there.

I mess around with the tomato plants here, work in the garden, go back and forth to Wal-Mart or go out to eat. Seems like a lot of people are scared to come over here, so you see a lot of people at Wal-Mart that you ain’t seen in a while. That’s kind of nice. I enjoy talking with people. I have a partner, Cindy, she’s here. We aren’t really dating but she is a good partner, someone to go out and spend time with. There’s always a buy one get one free. I can’t eat both of them, so we share.

I was married for about 20 years, but she passed away about a year and a half ago, from liver damage. She was only 47. She went a little wild, drinking and stuff like that. It’s part of life I reckon. We all gottta go eventually. We don’t like it when it happens, but we know it is going to happen.

I am trying to live for God. I go to church regularly at First Baptist. It’s nice. Been going there all my life, but I reckon I slacked off a lot when I got married. Now I am starting to go back again. It makes me live a little better. I used to be a big drinker too, to be honest with you. I drink on occasion now, but very seldom. The bottom line is that when I leave this earth I want to make sure I go to a better place. It’s kind of tough living in this world here. It’s in pretty bad shape. A lot of killing. Drugs. But when I leave this world I am going to heaven.

I am going to tell you something. People might not believe this, but I felt that I stopped in midair when I was on that trampoline and I think it was God telling me He would be with me. I thought about that quite a bit. I told my sister and my ex-wife, but they didn’t pay no mind. You know how it is. Something like that happens and people won’t believe you, but for me it was very real. If anything happens to you, believe in God, because He is with you all the time, no matter what.