Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 18, 2018

Live life to the fullest

Local man gives first Ted Talk about living an active life after paralyzing accident
Jun 05, 2017
Photo by: File photo Mt. Pleasant resident Willy Amos recently spoke to a large crowd during a Ted Talk about how his life changed after a paralyzing accident.

By Bryce Kelly, Mt. Pleasant News


After experiencing a life-changing accident at the age of 38, Mt. Pleasant man Willy Amos says life in a wheelchair hasn’t slowed him down, but rather given him a new perspective on life and a purpose that is beyond himself. That’s exactly the message Amos told guests during his first Ted Talk appearance this spring.

It was in 2008 when Amos was hunting and accidentally fell 28-feet out of a deer stand in Mt. Pleasant. The fall caused serious injury to his back and spinal cord, leaving Amos to question whether or not he would ever fully recover. After months of rehabilitation, Amos now lives life from a wheelchair.

“It wasn’t too long after I was taken to Iowa City for medical treatment that the doctors told me I had damaged my spinal cord enough that I wouldn’t be able to walk again,” Amos recalls. “That was hard to wrap my mind around. To go from walking and standing, then to not being able to do the simplest tasks like rolling over was tough in the beginning.”

Today, however, Amos says his physical abilities might have changed, but his desire to live life to the fullest most certainly has not. A director of the Mt. Pleasant Hy-Vee Drug Store, Amos says he still enjoys working full-time and being active in the community. He coaches baseball and enjoys spending time outdoors, but says his biggest joy comes from spending time with his family.

“If anything, I appreciate my family so much more now,” he said. “The accident really made me realize how special and important family is.”

Prior to his accident, Amos was still a Hy-Vee employee. He says he is thankful to work with the company as they are passionate about being accessible to people of all physical abilities. As a store director in a wheelchair, Amos says day-to-day life at work is fairly similar to life before his accident. And although he has to ask for help reaching the tops of shelves from time-to-time, Amos says his employees still expect him to lead and work the way any other store director would.

“The store itself is pretty accessible. I think sometimes people are surprised by how much of a go-getter I am, especially new employees. But they catch on pretty quick,” Amos says with a smile. “Any retail manager will tell you that if there is something that needs doing, it’s their job to get it done. I don’t think any differently.”

With a new outlook on life, Amos says he feels compelled to share his experiences with others. Today, Amos is invited to speak at hunter safety classes or at motivational speaking events, and says while speaking of his accident isn’t always easy, it’s worth it.

Amos has also become an advocate for disability rights, saying that as someone who hasn’t lived with a disability all his life, he has been able to use his life experiences prior to his accident to better advocate for the rights of the disabled community.

“I think overall, we live in a great community,” he said of Mt. Pleasant. “There are ways that this area could be improved to be more accessible, and I know that takes time. I think the main thing is that I feel I have been given the opportunity to help make positive change happen for disabled people in this area both current and future, and I feel honored to play a part in that.”

Overall, Amos says he hopes his story reminds people that when major struggles come their way, life isn’t over. Amos also says he hopes that speaking about disabilities gives people a better understanding of people of all backgrounds, and that treating others with love and respect is always a must.

“People are people. We all need to feel loved and accepted for who we are. I certainly don’t want people to go through what I have been through with my accident, but if people walk away from one of my talks with a better perception of the disabled community, I feel I’ve done my job,” he says. “If anything, this change in my life has given me a greater appreciation for life at all levels and has renewed my faith in humanity.”


Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.