MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. -- Geoff Newmyer's life would change forever on October 7, 2007. That day, he says he fell 15 feet from a tree while on a hunting trip. Out of that tragedy, Newmyer found purpose in the passion he continues to pursue.
"I knew right away that I really screwed up my back. My legs went numb. I couldn't feel 'em. I couldn't move. I tried to get up," he recalled.
After a round of surgeries, Newmyer says he did physical therapy at Mary Free Bed for about six weeks.
"It's work man. They want to get you up and movin', and they want to get you back to where life's going to begin again. With me, it was going to be learning how to live out of a wheelchair," he explained.
But he hasn’t let that wheelchair slow him down. Geoff owns a plumbing business and co-owns an off-road wheelchair company.
"(People asked), 'Why do you work so hard for?' 'Why are you working?' For one, my family and I like to hunt and fish. It's not the cheapest thing to do," he said.
Months after the accident, Newmyer found purpose in his passion for hunting. He teaches hunter safety classes through the Norton Shores Police Department for the past 11 and a half years and educates hunters of all ages.
"I really enjoy doing it. We do two classes a year," he said. "They put me on that tree stand safety station."
One class is in April and the other is in August.
As part of his presentations, Newmyer shows students the prusik knot. He says he was wearing a harness the day he fell but didn't have the prusik knot device. He says slowing down to take those precautions can pay off in the long run.
"It's so easy, especially this day in life, to be in a hurry. And this is, this is stuff that takes a little extra time. It takes a little extra money, but I always explain to 'em. It's a lot easier spending a little time, a little extra money than it does living in a wheelchair," Newmyer said.
Newmyer says his biggest accomplishment since the accident has been becoming the father of two girls. For more information on the hunting safety classes, click on this link.