March 17, 2017 12:30 AM
A local college student is standing tall after receiving a one-of-a-kind gift giving him a higher outlook on life.
Most of us take for granted the ability to stand up. But after spending his entire life confined to a wheelchair, Jason Deragon is standing up just to complete his college education.
"I was born with Spina Bifida, a very severe case," said Deragon.
The 19-year-old Bayfield man refuses to go through life sitting down. The ailment forced him into a wheelchair his entire life, but Deragon still has goals.
"Hopefully get a job somewhere, maybe start my own business," said Deragon.
The future marine mechanic started taking classes at WITC in Ashland about a year ago. Deragon knew he would need help working on the large outboard motors, but his standard wheelchair had limitations.
"I had seen what I'd be working with, I thought this isn't gonna happen," said Deragon. With the help of Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Deragon received the state-of-the-art standing wheelchair, and it didn't cost him a dime.
Raymond Maczik, the vice president of the The Standing Company, personally delivered the new set of wheels to Deragon at the school.
"It's amazing to see people come together to help Justin stand up," said Maczik. Within minutes of testing the wheelchair out, Deragon says he can now do things in the marine mechanic shop with ease he wasn't able to do at all.
"A lot of improvement, cause without this chair I wouldn't be able to do 90 percent of the course," said Deragon.
Maczik knows how the new piece of equipment can improve a recipient's life, both physically and emotionally.
"Our users tell us, having the advantage of standing, while it makes me healthier, also, I enjoy looking people in the eye," said Maczik.
Deragon says he's looking forward to working with his father rebuilding their car with the new wheelchair.
Updated: March 17, 2017 12:30 AM
Created: March 16, 2017 06:32 PM
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