NEW YORK — Kenneth Gagot worked as a carpenter for a construction firm, and his wife was a teacher in a nearby town. Their son was attending an Ivy League college in pursuit of a medical degree. Like many in his trade, Gagot worked jobs on the side for extra money.
In 2014, an accident turned Gagot’s life upside down. He was pulling shutters off a second-story window, when he slipped and fell off of a ladder. As a result, he broke his neck and damaged his spinal cord at the C-5 vertebrae. The rest of the year was a blur of hospitals, rehab facilities, and operations.
For the severely disabled, a handicapped-assisted vehicle is one of the keys to restoring some degree of normalcy to their lives. Unable to purchase such a vehicle on his own, the only time Gagot got out of the house was for doctor appointments or to go to the hospital, where he was transported by ambulance. This went on for two years and contributed to a growing case of depression. Gagot and his wife worked with workers’ compensation for more than two years before learning that they would receive partial payment for a handicapped assistance van. They agreed to pay for the conversion of a van, but Gagot had to provide the van. His wife had been talking to the Joseph Groh Foundation on and off about assistance during this two-year period of time, and when she received the news from workers’ compensation, she knew exactly what type of funding they needed — that for a van.
Thanks to many donors, the Joseph Groh Foundation was able to meet Kenneth and Debra Gagot’s request. They picked up the new vehicle in October.
Publication date: 12/19/2016