Opportunities Do Exist with Disabilities
By: David Peck, Vice President, MPVA Board of Directors
U.S. Navy Veteran, Vietnam, 1968-1969
I was just twenty years old and found myself living as a paraplegic with no trade or higher education. At home, I had a wonderful family who believed I would be able and willing to accept my new lifestyle if I had a new skill to focus on in order to obtain a balance of living and new sense of self-worth. I always felt that I could do anything I put my mind toward and with the help of my family (who supervised the building of a workshop as I returned home from Vietnam) I ended up doing just that.
Living all my life in a community of wonderful friends and family allowed me to accept offers to learn woodworking, canning of chairs, and refinishing of furniture. I set out to build a home to add on to the workshop I already had. With help from numerous individuals, the task was accomplished. From there, I realized I had lots of ideas, and with the use of my new knowledge I sought after a forty-one year journey of creating furniture.
With the passing of years, my hobbies have increased and new adventures have been experienced. I have traveled, seen my children become adults, and completed numerous projects in wood and refinishing. I enjoy hunting and had my first experience with Great Lake Fishing this past month. My favorite thing to do is mow the land around my home myself. I get such joy with the coming of spring and summer; the rebirth of nature and tasks that come with it. I also maintain our pool and keep up with the maintenance of all my “toys.” In addition, my wife and I have also been able to do some traveling in each of the great states.
As for my furniture work, canning brings me the most joy. It is hard to find individuals who have this skill and I take pride in the fact that I can usually cane over twenty chairs a year, all sizes and styles. There are many of my finished products in my home and others as well. Over the years, I have refinished my own dining room furniture, living room tables and my bedroom furniture. Birdhouses happen to be my children’s favorites. In the fall, I look forward to various toy projects for my grandson who is currently awaiting a special train engine that he can sit on and use his imagination.
I always look for new projects and hobbies to make my life enjoyable. I enjoy participating in MPVA sports events and have been competing in them for many years. I also had the luxury of participating in an African Safari Hunt which gave me the opportunity of brining home unbelievable memories and a trophy.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity of talking with returning veterans and I have always tried to give them some sort of self awareness by letting them know that someone else has gone through the same experiences. I have been blessed with the understanding and encouragement from my family and friends. Looking back on the life I was given, I am thankful that I have been truly able to enjoy each and every day.