Grant Money To Help Accident Disabled Man To Keep Working Productively
by Scott Van Buren
(Topeka, Kansas, USA)
I am a 45-year-old father of two sons, 22 and 21 years old. My wife for the past seven years is 53 years old.
My oldest son is married with a son and daughter who live in Louisiana. He works full time for the paper mill there, working 60 hours a week to support his family. They belong to a local church and serve the Lord in their home.
My youngest son is also married and attending Bible College with his wife in Kansas City Missouri. They are planning to be in the ministry full time and begin a family once they graduate from college.
I moved to Topeka Kansas from Louisiana eight months ago, to work for a roofing company.
When I got here I soon found out this company had misrepresented themselves and were running a poor business.
They fired all the employees including all the office staff, sales consultants and production staff. I was their top salesman and the last one to go.
I looked for this job for eight months and thought it would be a long career.
I was riding my bicycle with my sister at 12 years old, when I ran off a 20-foot embankment and landed on my neck.
When I arrived at the hospital, they told me I had crushed three vertebrae in my neck and had broken my back.
The fall also threw my hipbone out of place, making one leg two inches shorter than the other one.
I spent a couple of weeks in the hospital and had to wear a back brace for a year.
They drilled a hole in my hip in order to use the bone to fuse my lower back together.
They also had to add bone and a steel plate with four screws to hold the vertebrae together in my neck, because one of the pieces was pinching my spinal cord in half.
I suffered a lot of nerve damage and over the years have acquired arthritis in my neck, back and ankles.
I had extremely bad posture all these years and it affected all the muscles in my legs. I can walk out to the mailbox and back but my arms and hands begin to go numb if I try and walk any farther.
I've tried to sit at a desk and type on the computer but my arms and hands become numb and the pain in my back won't allow me to sit for long periods of time.
Due to the pain, I am unable to be on my feet for any length of time as well. Over the years, I have tried to be on pain medication, but it's a losing battle.
Your body needs more and more as time goes by. I decided to get off all pain medications and allow my body to fight the pain naturally. It is very difficult but I have no other choice.
Due to my disability I was fired from the phone company due to the way I walked, so I decided the only way I was going to succeed was to work for myself.
I trained myself to do remodeling and began my own business. Later in life I wasn't physically able to do the work, so I sub-contracted out the work.
The economy got so bad that I had to close the business and look for work. After eight months of looking I found a job doing estimating for a roofing company in Topeka but the company fell apart.
I found through volunteer work at a local women's prison that I had found something that I truly loved and could make a difference.
Along with my wife, I have been mentoring the women and bringing AA meetings into the prison. I have studied the Bible most of my life and I am able to share my faith in Christ with the inmates.
I looked into a supervisory position in mentoring and counseling but I don't have the necessary degree to obtain a full time position that would pay enough to make a living for my wife and me.
My wife is also helping the women at the prison deal with mental illness. She was diagnosed with a severe case of bipolar disorder at age 17, but has been able to work as a pastry chef for 25 years.
Over the past five years her disease has made it impossible for her to work a job. She finally filed for unemployment at age 53, but still hasn't received any assistance.
My wife and I had to leave our home in Louisiana and move to Topeka Kansas for this job opportunity.
We tried renting our home to a young family who ended up separating and leaving our home a mess and four months past due on the mortgage.
The first few months of being in Topeka I was sending money to Louisiana to get our house note up to date, since I was out of work for eight months before coming here.
Then the tenants wouldn't pay their rent so it put us behind again. We decided to put the home up for sale through a real-estate agent but have had no serious buyers.
We had close to $50,000 in equity in our home and are now facing foreclosure.
We moved into a nicer home here in Topeka three months ago, but I lost my job the day after we moved in.
We have been holding weekly Bible Studies at our home for the past several months. One of the members gave us the money the first two months of living here to pay all the bills.
We are now at the first of the month again and had to make payments on all our utilities in order to keep them on. We are unable to pay the rent for now, so we rented our basement to a young man to help with the bills.
I feel God's leading in my life to work in the prison system or some type of rehabilitation center so I can use my experience, strength and hope, to help others find peace and happiness in their lives.
We have a 1997 Jeep Cherokee I purchased for $1,300 with 250,000 miles on it. It has been a reliable vehicle for us and we are truly grateful.
We aren't able to afford health insurance so we have to pay out of pocket for our medications. The medications for my wife's disease are very costly along with the few medications I require.
This is very difficult when we are both disabled and I am the only one who can work at this time. The jobs that I can do are few and our future is very difficult to predict.
I have put it into the hands of God the Father, but am trying my best to do the footwork.
I have been working trying to sell Identity theft protection and pre-paid legal services through a company called Harvard Risk Management but have been unable to make any money.
I have helped many others who have been struggling by helping them with money, clothes or a place to stay for a while.
I trust the Lord in the direction of my life and I try and get out of the way. I know His will is for me to be able to provide for my family but it has been an uphill road.
I have tried to get disability in the past for myself but they won't go back and look at my past records and without insurance and money, I can't get the necessary tests to show what's going on with my physical condition.
I have looked at work-from-home jobs but have a difficult time spending any length of time at a desk.
I have looked at jobs in other states but don't have the means to move.
I feel I have the right amount of business, leadership and management skills to work for Kansas Corrections but don't have the degree.
I need immediate assistance in finding a job working with others in need, who are willing to work around my disability.
I have experience working with people with drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness. They can't relate to a guy with a degree who's had a picture perfect life.
They need professional guidance from someone who has been in their shoes and someone who has learned to deal with a severe physical problem.
I would like an opportunity to show I can make a difference without looking at the years I spent in college.
I'm not sure at this point if a grant would help or disability for myself.
I need a job where I can use my abilities to provide for my family as long as I can.
I feel the line of work I described would be the best use of my talents and a job that would provide a lot of personal satisfaction, but I am willing to go wherever the Lord leads me.
Click here to post comments
Return to US Kansas.