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With a New Year Upon Us, Let’s Look Back to Look Forward

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As one calendar year ends and another begins, itbris typical to look back to consider what has passed as we move into a new year.br

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As a writer for Serve Daily, I have realized somebramazing people stories in our community. Ordinary people who have excelled becausebrof their passion for what they are doing. People with challenges who havebrestablished a remarkable achievement because of determination and sometimesbrwith the help of compassionate individuals in our community. Based on what webrhave seen in 2019 there are a lot more amazing people and events to bebrdiscovered in 2020.

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In 2019 we found the story of a family birthdaybrparty that turned tragic when a huge tree fell and crushed a grandmother andbrtwo granddaughters. A 4-year-old granddaughter survived with paralyzingbrinjuries.

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Out of this tragedy a mountain trail wheelchairbrwas developed by a couple of firemen who rescued the little girl. Then a BYUbraccounting graduate realized there might be a need among the handicappedbrpopulation to create a business to manufacture and market the off-pavementbrwheelchair. This special wheelchair is now called the Extreme Motus. Thebrcompany has continued to refine the chair and now have a power assisted model.brOut of tragedy came something good for many mobility challenged people who wantbrto get out on the backwoods trail.

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Then there was the young man who had justbrgraduated college with a degree in forestry science and just received news thatbrhe was hired in what he described his “dream job.”

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Celebrating he accidently broke his neck, whichbrleft him completely paralyzed. He went through a variety of emotional cyclesbrbefore he realized he had to make something positive with what he had. JakebrFrench has now become a national and international motivational speaker. He wasbrin Utah in July 2019 for a ram sheep hunt arranged by the Springville basedbrChairbound Sportsman Organization.

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Thanks to Trackchair mobility he was able have abrsuccessful hunt, which had been a goal since his accident. Jake is the authorbrof a motivational book titled Life Happens, Live it andbrthe weekend after his Utah hunt, he was scheduled to be in Boston to give abrmotivational talk. Jake French was an amazing guy to meet and another examplebrof the Chairbound Sportsman Organization helping the handicapped enjoy thebroutdoors.

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2019 was also the year that this authorbrdiscovered Little Warrior’s Camp. This is an outdoor experience for thebrchildren, surviving spouse and parents of a fallen Utah service member. It is abrthree-day event held at Camp Wapiti; a 50-acre mountain retreat operated by thebrUtah Elks.

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It is a wonderful family weekend with numerousbrscheduled activities, plenty of great food and interaction with caringbrvolunteer staff who truly put the children first. It is also an opportunity forbrthe adults to meet new friends in a supportive and deeply understandingbrenvironment where no one will ask difficult questions or make cruel commentsbrabout the loss in their lives. What is really striking about this event is howbrour great nation has service organization that care about our veterans andbrtheir families.

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The most amazing veteran story is 99-year-oldbrGail Halvorsen, locally known as the “Candy Bomber” and to the kids of 1948brBerlin as “Uncle Wiggly Wings.” As a 28-year-old Lieutenant flying a C-54 hebrconserved the idea of dropping candy to the German kids watching the airplanesbrlanding in Berlin during the Russian Blockade from the fall of 1948 to thebrspring of 1949.

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Halvorsen did not have approval of his commanderbrinitially, but shortly became a hero of U.S. good will. The wonderful part ofbrthis story is that Gal Halvorsen remains active and recently returned frombrLondon, where he was featured in the Royal British Legion’s Festival ofbrRemembrance.

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Based on what I have seen in 2019 there are a lotbrof interesting people and events to be discovered in 2020. (Helmickbris a Serve Daily contributor.)

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