A Hooligan Turned Hero

We all read the stories about drunk drivers. They make us hug our children and cringe.

This story has a refreshing twist to that usual reaction. It is a drunk driving story with a happy ending.

David Heim drove drunk 14 years ago and got into a serious accident. He didn’t hurt anyone else, but he himself lost the use of his legs, and he’s been wheelchair bound ever since.

He admits that driving under the influence of alcohol was the “dumbest thing he’s ever done.” He decided to make some real changes in his life. He decided to give his life meaning by devoting the rest of his days to helping others.

Fast forward to 2009: David, affectionately known as the “Wheelchair Recycler,” makes more than 100 custom made wheelchairs each year for people who would otherwise be immobile, spending their days lying in a bed. He makes these wheelchairs out of recycled parts from chairs that are donated to him. He charges very little money for these chairs, and if a family is unable to pay, then he just gives them the wheelchair.

David’s work has changed so many lives for the better that he even got the attention of the Christopher Reeve Foundation. They donated one of Christopher’s wheelchairs to David, and he was able to repair six other chairs with the parts.

David said, “Independence is the greatest thing.” Once you give someone the gift of mobility, you give them legs again. He has received a lot of National attention in the States, including an article in USA Today and an appearance on the NBC Nightly News “Making a Difference” segment.

Does he regret the decision which led to the car accident that left him wheelchair bound? David says, “I wouldn’t change a thing. The smiles on the faces of the people we’ve helped out are worth every hour I was in rehab.”

David’s motto: If you find something you love to do, keep moving, never stop. I think those are words we should all learn from. You can learn more about him here: https://wheelchairrecycler.org

This is a video posted on YouTube about two weeks ago. It was made to thank David for making Alvaro Cardenas a custom wheelchair and shipping it all the way to Peru. This is very touching.