Stacy Rinehart was introduced to Jeff Auter in 1994. Jeff ran his own wheelchair company and fit then two-year-old Stacy for his first wheelchair. Stacy was born full-term, but with low blood sugar levels and spent the first three and a half months of his life in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegia CP and was determined to be cortically blind. In the years that followed, Jeff continued to serve and be inspired by Stacy’s will to live. And, in 2000, in a twist of fate, the two became family when Jeff married Stacy’s mother.
Throughout school, Stacy enjoyed reading books for the blind and using the early stage electronic augmentative communication system. He often amazed his family with what he said through the system, stunning them when he once shared the quote from Saint Francis, “All children can learn if we can only learn how to teach them.” Today Stacy loves watching good movies and football and is a Packers fan. A wheelchair accessible van gives Stacy and his family the freedom to be together outside the home. Over the years his life has been filled with hospital visits, and health challenges. He wasn’t supposed to thrive the way he has, but he is now thirty-five years old and still loves life in the powerful way he did as a child.
Jeff and Stacy have been a part of each other’s lives for 33 years. Even before they met, Jeff’s passion to help individuals in need of mobility solutions evolved into a 43-year career in the rehab industry and today Jeff serves clients as an ATP for NSM. Both understanding the imperative importance of mobility, the father and stepson have worked together in support of legislation affecting individuals with disabilities. When testifying recently at the Wisconsin State Capitol, Stacy smiled the entire time, proud of his opportunity to help others learn through his experiences and projecting his love for the life he’s been given.
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