The Glen Walker Melting Pot Co-Ed Flag Football tournament will be held again this year. Attending this event last year was a day of hope, healing, and love. Last year, we were still picking up the pieces and trying to move forward and I was blessed to receive the proceeds. This year the organizer, Leland Dombrowsky, allowed me to select a family to receive the funds. Here is how I selected…
Glen was driven. Determined. He did not blow where the wind took him, but fought to get to where he knew he needed to be. Where he deserved to be. He was a fighter. He persevered. He was happy. Joyous. Loved life. Loved those around him. He was fun. Silly. Athletic. Competitive. He was positive, despite his circumstances. He was a remarkable man.
I had never really known a man quite like him and by chance and similar circumstances, my path crossed with Billy Wilkerson. A man who I know would have been friends with Glen. A man who loves his life, his wife, his kids, and his friends despite the difficult cards he has been dealt along the way. Here is Billy’s story:
July 31st 2011 – Billy Wilkerson is hit by a drunk driver. He is in a coma for one week.
August 2011 – Facial reconstruction surgery and tracheotomy.
September 2011 – He spends weeks in the Shepherd Center for mental and physical rehabilitation.
October 2011 – After 7 facial reconstructive surgeries, Billy comes home.
December 2011 – Billy writes and performs this song… singing with his trache still in.
Previous to his accident, Billy was working for Whitestone Motion Pictures as a songwriter. After having a trache inserted into his neck to save his life and suffering from a severe traumatic brain injury, he did not know if he would ever be able to write or sing music again. The short film being produced by Whitestone at the time was Jack and the Dustbowl and four days before the accident he had discussed writing a song for the film’s credits. Although he did not have to write the song after the accident, he pushed himself. He did not settle and get comfortable where the wind had blown him, he continued to fight. The film was thematically similar to some of the struggles in Billy’s life and he said, “It challenged me, made me want to move forward. So that’s what I have been doing ever since.” Billy has embraced an outlook of moving forward despite his circumstances ever since and made Forward Motion a statement in his life.
We met in February of 2012 and I have had the privilege of seeing the amazing growth that has continued. Not only the growth, but living with intentionality. Billy and his family have been a huge source of strength, encouragement and support for me and my family.
Because Billy’s injuries were so severe, he has been unable to return to work. His wife, Jill, left her job after the accident to stay home with their children as well as help with Billy’s rehabilitation. They are such an inspirational family.