WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Waco firefighter paralyzed in May in a freak off-duty accident didn’t let his injury and the new challenges he faces get in the way of a planned family beach vacation in Florida.
The trip was planned before Garth Goodwin, a 17-year-veteran of the Waco Fire Department, was paralyzed in a fall from a billboard while working off-duty in McGregor.
Goodwin said the trip was an unforgettable experience, thanks to the love and support of his family.
“We had a great time,” Goodwin said.
“All of it was a little work from everybody helping Lisa, Cutter and me. My family is a true blessing,” he said.
Goodwin was released from the hospital in June after a six-week stay.
An extended family of 19 helped the firefighter and his family make the 13-hour trip from Waco to Destin, Fla.
“They still wanted to go and it was an awesome time,” his nephew, James Barron, said Monday.
“We rented an RV so Garth could be comfortable,” Barron said.
Garth’s brother-in-law, Ray Feight, also went along and helped with planning.
He said he wanted to make sure Goodwin not only got to the beach, but also got on it.
“When we arrived in Florida we wanted to find a way to get Garth on the beach. So I got on the internet and found this mobility site that made (motorized scooters) specifically for access to the beach,” Feight said.
Thanks to the specialized scooter, Goodwin was able to enjoy several days on the beach and even do some fishing, family members said.
“I was even able to cast a pole out in the ocean and let Garth fish,” Barron said.
“Fishing is something Garth is very passionate about. It was a sense of normal for the first time in months,” he said.
Goodwin and his family returned from the vacation over the weekend, but they have plenty to look forward to.
A group of more than 100 local businesses and individuals is working to build a new wheelchair-accessible home for the firefighter and his family.
They’re hoping to break ground by the end of the month.