My name is Alex and I make up one half of this incredible dream dubbed the Special Skoolie. On April 17 of 2016, I received one of the worst phone calls of my life. On the other end was the terrified voice of my mother telling me that my younger brother had broken his neck and was told that he would never walk again. At the time, Sam was an otherwise normal 23 year old surfer who worked hard with an upbeat personality and a one of a kind sense of humor. Right out of high school, Sam entered the US Navy where he worked as aeronautical mechanic in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Yet in a matter of moments he was now defined by one freak accident.
While he was spending some downtime with friends, Sam went to crawl out of a hammock and instead he was unable to get his feet underneath him causing him to fall and break his neck at the C5 level which left him a quadriplegic, meaning he would no longer be able to move all four of his appendages.
During the course of three very long months in a cold hospital room, Sam would yearn for travel. While he dreamed of driving the Pacific Coast Highway or hiking the Grand Tetons, he was faced with a new reality that he may never trek those places. As he continued his new reality outside of the hospital, life only grew more difficult. He was told by many voices that traveling was dangerous, exhausting and simply not recommended.
Fast forward three years- Sam is stronger, smarter and ready to make the otherwise impossible, very possible. At the beginning of 2019, both Sam and I purchased a decommissioned 40' school bus to rebuild and retrofit for his needs in order to complete one of the greatest road trips, with one twist. We want for this trip to be the start of many more trips for many more people. We were inspired when we saw the first 'skoolie' and it seemed to make so much sense that there was a completely customizable option available for anyone to access places they otherwise wouldn't be able to.
We are hopeful that through these donations we are able to show the world what is possible, not just for Sam but for an entire community of people that feels left out. We want to demonstrate that the constrictions of a wheelchair are not a condemnation, instead just a little extra luggage. But more than just showing what is possible, we want to help make it a reality for more than just Sam. We have created a website, comprised of both a blog and vlog to help document and serve as a resource for others who may find themselves in a similar situation. While we travel the country, we dream to bring this dream to others- helping with other bus builds for specialized individuals and maybe even using our bus to show someone living with a disability just what the Redwoods are all about or just how big the Rockies really are!
We have so many goals and plans for this school bus but one thing stands- the handicap community has every right to be included when it comes to travel and adventure. We are here to do our part to bridge that gap and continue making those dreams livable realities! We are so thankful for the support this far and we cannot wait to shake things up within the handicap community and introduce them to the skoolie community. Thank you for your donation, and we invite you to follow our journey!