John has always had a love and appreciation for sports and the outdoors. He can often be found riding his motorcycle, hunting, fishing, or swimming. After an injury, a little over 20 years ago, that appreciation has only expanded.
21 years ago while painting his shop ceiling at home, John fell 12 feet from the scaffolding he was standing on. He suffered 4 broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a severed spinal cord at T8, rendering him a complete paraplegic. But, despite this diagnosis, John refused to give up. Though he was initially fearful of being reliant on someone for the rest of his life, he used this fear as a challenge to be as independent as possible. John still participates in all of his old hobbies, stating that he loves being around the beauty of nature and experiencing freedom from a wheelchair.
John also has a heart for others experiencing living with disabilities. He volunteers with Adaptive Sportsmen Inc., a Wisconsin-based non-profit, as well as works with the Madison VA Hospital taking disabled veterans out fishing from May through September. He also mentors patients at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. Additionally, John’s passion for improving the lives of those living with disabilities has led him to have conversations with airlines in the hopes of improving the accessibility of air travel.
John has always been interested in scuba diving and even participated in a pool dive with Dive Pirates. He is excited to experience the freedom, beauty, and therapeutic benefits that come from scuba diving, as well as the camaraderie present in a group like Dive Pirates. He also hopes that he can both learn from and inspire others learning to live with disabilities. John lives in Wisconsin and has 4 kids and 8 grandchildren, with one on the way! He will be training with Instructor Jon Christian of Madison Scuba.