by: Tim “Gator” Glassmire

Tim “Gator” Glassmire from the Space Coast area in Florida shares his story and how he found the GRIT Freedom Chair.

In 1977, I took a short 40-foot fall and shattered both legs at the knee. I spent a nice 6-month stay at the local hospital getting put back together and was still told “you may never walk again.”

Well, I proved them wrong by not only walking, but hiking and doing all sorts of things that I maybe shouldn’t have done. And here I am, 42 years later, and can still walk.

Okay, so I can walk . . . a little bit. The ¾-mile walk from the hotel to our favorite restaurant in St. Augustine would take me five stops and almost an hour to cover. I realized it was time to admit I needed some help.

“Dented but not broken.”

I did a lot of research on “alternate mobility” and learned that way too many people like me (who are dented but not broken) take the easy way out with a powered chair. 

I talked to some nurses I know and they were all for the self-powered chairs. So, which one to get? That fall not only tore up my legs, but my right shoulder now has a tendency to just pop out of joint at certain angels. So many chairs, so many issues, and so many opportunities.

Researching all-terrain wheelchairs and finding the GRIT Freedom Chair

One day I happened on a website with a three-wheeled chair. My first thought was that I would probably tip over and break something. I reviewed the information online and finally got on the phone with Mike at GRIT and had a few discussions.

I told him my story and also told him that I was a bit “more” than what the chair was rated for. We got down to business and even though I was ready to put the order in, Mike stood his ground and gave me my first target of getting below 310 lbs. before he could release the chair.

It took me a few weeks to drop from 340, but I was eventually able to call and announce I had made weight! The all-terrain wheelchair was put in the mail that day and I received it in about five days after that.

I could not have been happier with the whole process or the crew at GRIT

They sent me toward my first hurdle with the weight loss. I have now put myself on a daily regimen to ride for exercise as well as use my bionic legs (the GRIT Freedom Chair) to do jobs, walks and—yes, go to my favorite pubs and restaurants.

The GRIT team has become a daily dose of reality and I have been invited by other riders to join them in a 5K race. I have never run, driven, or even watched a 5K race . . . this should be interesting.

Now, I have to blame Mike and the GRIT crew for one small item. I needed to make weight in order to get the chair. I got down to 295 and then something else happened. I added 2” to my chest, added 1 ½” to my biceps . . . and somehow, I added about 18 pounds! Maybe it’s muscle. I lost weight to get the chair and then I gained weight while using it. So, to all of you at GRIT, I am definitely your test subject for load testing.

Thanks to all of you guys for giving me my mobility back and I will see you out there rolling about the world.