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After Accident, Young Man Embraces Motto: Life Happens, Live it!

Aug 12, 2019 05:40PM ● By Ed Helmick

Raised in eastern Oregon with a passion for all things outdoors, including of course hunting and fishing, Jake French worked hard to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Products from the University of Idaho.

After graduating, he got a job with the Oregon Division of Forestry. It was his dream job, full time, and back home in Oregon. He had been on the job three weeks when he rendezvoused with some old friends on a Friday night. There was some roughhousing, and Jake fell, hitting his head firmly on the ground. He heard something snap, felt no pain, other than he was having convulsions. Later x-rays would show his neck snapped between the C-6 and C-7 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the collar bone down.

This very bad day in Jake’s life forced him to experience a variety of emotional cycles as you can imagine. Then he realized he had a new adventure ahead of him, to make the best of what he has.  His mother gave Jake four important words: life happens, live it. He began to look at life differently and share his positive thoughts with others. Jake took his accident and turned it into something positive for everyone. Jake French has now become a nationally and internationally recognized motivational speaker. He has an amazing attitude and enthusiasm to charge forward no matter what your challenges are. Jake has written a book titled Life Happens, Live it with his personal story and nine other stories of people who have overcome incredible challenges. For more on Jake French check out his website at

Kenneth Vaughn of the Springville based Chairbound Sportsman met Jake last winter at a four-day expo in the Salt Palace, and that conversation led to the scheduling of a chairbound hunting trip. On the third weekend in July Jake French traveled from Beverton, Ore. to Springville for a ram sheep hunt. The hunting party traveled as a small caravan to Kelly Prestwich’s Big Mountain Hunting Ranch. Jake was accompanied by his mother, Margaret, and brother Brad to assist him. Jake was placed in a Trackchair owned by the Chairbound Sportsman Organization. The hunt was on. It was a long day, and late in the afternoon when the elusive prize ram was finally located. What a wonderful smile that brought to Jake’s face. Brad’s assistance and connection to his brother Jake was also a wonderful thing to witness. It was a great day outdoors. Life happens, live it.

For information on the Chairbound Sportsman check out their website at (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)