A Johnston County high school teacher confined to a wheelchair needs your help. David Anderson of Pine Level is a math teacher and tennis coach. Anderson, 42, was left paralyzed from the chest down following a fiery accident on June 12, 1992 just 9 days after he received his high school diploma at North Johnston High.
Anderson says he doesn’t remember the day that left him paralyzed, but witnesses said he pulled his Honda into the path of a car on US301 at Pittman Road near Micro, which was struck in the side, overturned and caught on fire. A bystander rushed to the burning vehicle, kicked out a window, and pulled him to safety. David could have given up on life but he didn’t. In fact, the accident hasn’t slow him down. In 1997, he graduated from NC State University and in 2008 received his masters degree from Campbell. He also served two years as a Pine Level town commissioner.
He has been a teacher at North Johnston High for six years. Outside of school, David, 42, enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife, Carmen, have three children, ages 7, 11, and 14. The couple met in 1999 while he was serving as a youth pastor at a local church.
Problems With Handicapped Van
For transportation David depends on a 12 year-old specially-equipped handicapped van to travel to and from school. However, the van is no longer reliable. The side door is suppose to be automatic but it has to be opened manually. The driver’s seat no longer swivels automatically, and sometimes the ramp doesn’t reach the ground. Adding to the problems, he actually gets stuck in the van when the door won’t fully open, and mechanics can’t find out why the van’s battery gives out every few months.
Having to open the sliding door manually injured David recently. Doctors say he tore his rotator cuff and needs to have surgery in June. His van’s air conditioner has also stopped working. Anderson and his family can no longer afford to repair the van and they don’t have $60,000 to buy a new one.
School Leader, Friends Step In To Help
Carmen Anderson works full time at the Johnston County Clerk of Court’s Office in the Johnston County Courthouse. Carmen was recently discussing the problems with her husband’s van with a co-worker, Danielle Haddock of Princeton.
“As a Christian I feel like God laid it on my heart to pray about it and to do something,” Danielle said. She began searching on the internet and realized May was National Mobility Awareness Month and the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association was giving away a free handicapped van. “I felt like it had fallen into place,” she said. “I see how hard David and Carmen work to provide for their children and I think that’s so honorable.”
Danielle said the Association will give away the van to the person who receives the most votes online. She has been spreading the word to family and friends. David said the school principal at North Johnston is even allowing students to vote while at lunch in the school cafeteria each day.
“He gets up every morning and goes to work. He made a choice to work after the accident. He deserves a nice van to go to work,” Danielle said. “A school teacher is a hero for what they do. David is a double hero.”
After learning about David’s plight on Monday, Johnston County School Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow said, “I take this personally and have shared Coach Anderson’s mission through my own social media. I hope that this opportunity works out for him for all that he does for NJHS and our students.” Renfrow said that all the county principals have been notified of Anderson’s opportunity and have been encouraged to participate in a way that is suitable for their school.
David says his current van is no longer reliable. So what would a new van mean to him? “It would mean the world. It would allow my arm to rest. Now I have to open and close the door. It is a lot for my rotator cuff. I feel like I am old fashion getting in a van without air condition. It would lift a burden off my shoulders.”
“I can’t think of a more deserving person to win,” Haddock added. “What a wonderful gift this would be.”
If you would like to vote for David Anderson click on this link for more information.
Individuals can vote once a day. The deadline is May 31st. The winner will be announced June 20th.