Dwight R. Owens
I have conducted radio and television interviews and spoken before more than 100 groups at their request. I have done this work pro-bono as a way to pay back the greater community for the constant support I received while undergoing surgeries, medical treatment, and physical rehabilitation from injuries I received in a motor vehicle accident on August 5, 2005. My vehicle was rear ended by a 71 year old drunk driver, and I suffered punctured lungs, six broken ribs, severe internal injuries, a broken back, a dislodged liver, and a severed spine that left me permanently paralyzed from the waist down. I coded in the hospital, and the doctors gave me no chance to survive. I stayed in the hospital almost a year through life support, ICU, and rehab fighting for my life. I am a miracle!
After a two year interval filled with countless surgeries, medical setbacks, and a grueling rehabilitation regimen, I was restored to sound health and looking to make a contribution to the world as a promise I made to God. I was approached by several churches, school groups, and rehab organizations and asked to tell my story. Through a partnership with Chinika, I entitled my speaking tour “Before You Drink, Think Dwight.” Word seemed to spread, and I was soon speaking publicly three times or more a week. In all, I have given some 120 presentations and shared my story with over 40,000 people. The tour has taken me to schools, correctional facilities, rehab groups, courts, universities, and much more. Some groups were as small as ten people and others were as large as a thousand. I also hold an additional campaign, inspired by LIFE of MS (L.I.F.E. – Living Independence For Everyone), visiting nursing homes and the homes of people with disabilities to encourage independence, encourage leadership, provide hope, and offer counseling. In addition, I started a Men With Disabilities support group to help men and their families cope with their circumstances. I have also been proud to serve on the board of South MS Public Accessibility Association (SMPAA), where we fight for people with disabilities by making sure businesses and other facilities are ADA compatible or accessible. I have since received numerous awards, including local, state, and nationally. I was the national recipient of the 2010 “Spirit of Service” award provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service. I was also very proud to receive the Cabot Celebrity award, given to great humanitarians across the world.
I have worked closely with a colleague, Jon Praet, to write an inspirational memoir entitled “Still Standing.” The book has two goals. My first goal was to introduce the able-bodied community to the challenges facing people with disabilities in a way that was non-threatening and even humorous at times. My second goal was to provide an illustration that life goes on notwithstanding a disability, and it can go on in a fully satisfying and productive way. I have received extremely favorable reviews of the book from several independent sources including professional writers, people disabilities, and people working in the disabled community. They have all urged me to bring the book to the public and share the story more broadly.
What is WritingHelp.com?
WritingHelp.com (www.writinghelpinc.com) was founded by the author, Jonathan Praet, in 2007. It is a small company that provides writing services primarily for businesses and sometimes for individuals. So, what do we do? Mostly business things like:
Jonathan had been considering new ways to exercise his writing muscles, and his fortuitous meeting with Dwight presented the perfect opportunity. Dwight’s story was full of grit, determination, and optimism. Dwight had grown spiritually and emotionally during the years following his accident, and he was a living inspiration for the able-bodied and disabled community alike. Dwight had a story to share, and Jonathan wanted to tell it. The two formed a friendship and then a partnership, and they worked with unwavering focus to bring the tale to light. “Still Standing” is the result.
“Still Standing” is off the beaten path for WritingHelp.com, but it was a wonderful journey that introduced the company to new terrain outside the arena of business exposition. It was a labor of love, and it was fun. We hope the final product does justice to Dwight and the vast community of people with disabilities. WritingHelp.com stands ready to serve individuals and businesses with a story to tell, and we welcome your comments and inquiries.
*"Still Standing" and "Before You Drink, Think Dwight" are not 501(c)(3) organizations. Therefore, when you choose to donate, you are doing it from your heart. These missions rely on individual contributions. Donations or Contributions will further the missions and help change lives.