Katy, Texas (April 4, 2014) — Kurtis Gross, 38, of Katy, is participating in a contest that could mean him receiving a free wheelchair-accessible van from the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). Kurtis, a 1994 graduate of Katy High School, survived a car accident that left him completely paralyzed at age 19 when he was on his way home from college. Kurtis is participating in the NMEDA’s Local Heroes contest, where participants from across the United States and Canada share their stories of how they have overcome the challenges of living with a disability. The winner of the Local Heroes contest will receive a custom wheelchair-accessible van. The winner is determined by votes cast by family, friends, neighbors, and community.
Following Kurtis’s accident in 1995, he spent a great deal of time in the hospital and in rehabilitation, and he made the decision that being a quadriplegic was not going to stop him from living his life to the fullest. Kurtis went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Tarleton State University, finishing first in his class. He then went on to earn his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.
While working on his law degree, Kurtis volunteered as an Attorney Ad Litem for children involved in Child Protective Services cases. After law school, he interned in the Ft. Bend County District Attorney’s office but had a difficult time finding an employer willing to give him an opportunity to prove his value. Kurtis’s persistence paid off when in 2007, he began his current position as a contracts attorney with Mustang Engineering.
While in law school, Kurtis met and married his wife, Shelley. They have three boys, Nathaniel, 10, and twins Noble and Nolan, 7. Kurtis and Shelley have a very active family.
In addition to the boys’ active lives in school and sports, Shelley volunteers at the children’s school and acts as team mom for the children’s various sports activities. Outside of his day job, Kurtis spends a great deal of time volunteering at his children’s school, tutoring, mentoring, working with the KISD school board, and as a guest speaker at various community events. And this is all in addition to his many medical appointments that are necessary to monitor and maintain his level of health.
Kurtis has to be driven to and from work every day, and he has to be driven to all of the children’s sports activities, school functions, his own volunteer activities, and anywhere they go as a family. It takes a specific kind of vehicle to accommodate Kurtis and his power wheelchair.
Six months ago, Kurtis and one of their sons were being driven home from a little league game when they were t-boned by another vehicle. The accident resulted in extensive damage to Kurtis’s van but it was not totaled. A new wheelchair-accessible van would be a blessing to Kurtis and his active family.
“Kurtis lives a life of inspiration,” says his friend Brandon Layhew. “He inspired his wife so much that she fell in love with him. He inspired God to give him three boys, and he has inspired his sons so much that they love him enough to let him know that it’s okay if he misses a game or two when he can’t get there or doesn’t feel up to it with his many medical issues. He has inspired me and so many others who are blessed to be part of his life.”
The Gross family hopes that Kurtis’s story inspires enough people to take the time to vote for him in this contest so he can be awarded a wheelchair-accessible van that will allow him to get around to his many commitments and especially to get out with his family more easily and more often.
To vote for Kurtis, visit this Web site – www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/local-heroes – and search for Kurtis Gross. You can vote once every day until May 9, 2014.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding mobility options for people with disabilities. The organization promotes and supports members engaged in the modification of quality transportation and wheelchair accessible vehicles. Over 600 international members work to provide safe and reliable adapted transportation solutions to help build the road to independence. Transportation is the key to freedom, and NMEDA is the key to quality transportation.