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Mary Free Bed alum finds inspiration 12,000 feet above ground

Buddy Gargus, 50, has long been an adrenaline junkie.

A paralyzing spinal cord injury, sustained in a July 2010 diving accident, didn’t diminish his bold spirit.

Post-accident, Buddy spent two months in rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed where he focused on maximizing his strength and mobility.

“Mary Free Bed for me was a wonderful experience,” Buddy says. “I met some really fantastic people. A lot of the faculty made a big impact on my life and I consider them lifelong friends.”

After graduation from inpatient rehabilitation, a friend — and fellow Mary Free Bed alum — familiar with Buddy’s adventurous side told him about All American Roll Models. The nonprofit, founded by 4 spinal cord injury survivors, provides resources and opportunities to individuals living with physical challenges. The group is especially active in connecting people with adaptive sports and recreational experiences.

Buddy’s hope was to skydive with support from All American Roll Models and local company Skydive Allegan. In June 2015, the two organizations teamed with Buddy to see that goal to fruition.

Buddy says he loved the experience and is appreciative of the opportunities available to him and others with physical limitations.

“The people were very well-trained and professional,” Buddy says of the folks who accompanied him on the jump. “Thanks to them I feel like I can do anything I put my heart to.”

Buddy Gargus Skydive June 2015 Buddy Gargus Collage 3

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