News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Manís ability to overcome handicap is an inspiration

Many able-bodied people have a hard enough time driving a car, let alone backing a boat trailer down a marina ramp and launching.

But Leon Petty hasn't let the loss of his right arm at the shoulder and his right leg at the hip in a motorcycle accident 16 years ago keep him from enjoying life's simple pleasures.

"I'll do anything to stay on this water," the 44-year-old Decatur man said of his love of crappie fishing. "I bring all my ego out here and leave it. The river is a whole lot of spirit, and it takes a lot off me. It relaxes me a lot."

Obviously, many everyday tasks most of us take for granted could become insurmountable obstacles for one with less determination than Mr. Petty. Imagine trying to tie a shoestring with one hand.

Now imagine trying to tie a crappie jig.

Mr. Petty's resolve to overcome his handicap and accomplish the tasks many of us take for granted is an inspiration. It should be a reminder to all of us that, when the human will is strong, nothing is impossible.

Mr. Petty's story also enables us to put our own difficulties into perspective. You think you had a hard day at the office? Be thankful you are able to work.

Mr. Petty's difficulties have given him a healthy perspective. He makes sure he is up before dawn each day so that he can see the sun rise.

"Nothing on Earth as gorgeous," he said. "And you never see the same one. Always something different, but the beauty's there."

Sometimes, it is the simplest, most common things in life that teach us the most important lessons.

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