EUGENE, Ore. — Daniel Parker has worked in the construction business for the past 45 years, the last 28 of which were spent as a finish carpenter managing crews in Tigard, Oregon. Parker’s career started in California, where he learned finish carpentry and new home construction while working with a firm in Atherton. He then moved to Nova Scotia and was the owner of Maplewood Enterprises Construction. After that, he moved to Oregon and started Parker Finish Carpentry, where he worked until June 2016. Over the years, he trained a number of newcomers in the profession who went on to have long careers of their own in the construction business.

A lover of the outdoors, Parker enjoyed hiking in the rugged Oregon wilderness when not working. On June 20, 2016, he was completing a climb of “The Tooth,” a 5,604-foot-tall peak in the Snoqualmie Pass area near Seattle.

While hiking back down, the ground at the trail’s edge gave way underneath him, and he fell 70 feet down a boulder field. The resulting fall caused a spinal cord injury due to a fracture of his C5 and C6 vertebrae. He also suffered a concussion, hemorrhagic brain lacerations, and a fractured left arm. Following rehab, Parker was able to move his arms, though he could no longer use his fingers. He was also able to lift himself from his bed to the chair. His insurance provided him with a power wheelchair, which is extremely helpful, but Parker was eager to maintain his upper body strength and cardiac health. In order to help accomplish that, Parker sought an ultra-light, collapsible, manual wheelchair.

Today, he needs 24/7 in-home care. After purchasing a home equipped with a patient lift and wheelchair entry, he had no funds to purchase the wheelchair he desired. An online search led him to the Joseph Groh Foundation, where he applied for a grant. Thanks to the foundation’s many supporters, it was able to grant Parker’s wish.

After receiving his chair, his daughter, Linden, sent this note to the foundation:

“Thank you so much, Joe. Dan has used the wheelchair for a number of outings, including a friend’s birthday, a canoe club New Year’s celebration, and for running errands. Attached is a picture of Dan making his first trip to the credit union in his new chair. The exact same errand — getting a form notarized — took two days to schedule and was a big hassle with a lift-equipped taxi that could fit his power wheelchair. It was an easy 40-minute round trip in his own car thanks to having the manual chair. The increased independence is so amazing. Thank you for your organization’s financial support in helping to make this happen.”

Publication date: 3/6/2017

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