Before an auto accident last year left her paralyzed from the mid chest down, Samantha Hanway was an apprentice electrician, installing controls for HVAC systems while working for Low-Voltage Solutions in Dallas, Texas.
Low-Voltage is a leading provider of low-voltage electrical installations specializing in building automation, fire alarm, security, electrical monitoring, lighting controls and other low-voltage systems for commercial structures. Hanway has contributed work worked to the new Toyota headquarters and the new Dallas Cowboys Training Facility. She attended Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) as part of her apprenticeship training and completing her OSHA 30 training in preparation to become a safety representative for the company. She was preparing to take her OSHA 500 classes when the accident happened.
“Before the accident,” says Samantha, “I was a pretty tough chick. I found my niche in the construction industry, and had a job I absolutely loved. I used to be able to carry around 12-foot ladders. Now I can’t blowdry my own hair.”
The accident damaged Samatha's spinal cord at C6-C7, leaving her with limited use of her hands and fingers. Realizing how much her life would need to be altered to fit her abilities, she was referred to the Joseph Groh Foundation for help through the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas and the Christopher Reeve Foundation.
"At the time Samantha’s mom contacted our foundation, every resource she had talked with had fallen through," says Joseph Groh, founder of the Joseph Groh Foundation. "Her mom told us that if Samantha were on Medicaid, more doors would be open and more services would be available."
One of the Foundation's first priorities was to make Samantha's bathroom wheelchair accessible by installing a wider doorway, a roll under sink and a new lavatory.
"Their house has an unusual design for the DFW area. It features a drive under garage/basement, and Samantha’s room was in the basement. It has access to the outdoors through the garage and has a bathroom, but it is small and not accessible for someone in a wheelchair, " says Groh. "Samantha’s mom told us that the bathroom was a top priority at this point because she was having to take Samantha outside to shower. Can you even imagine yourself in this situation?"
Thanks to the generosity of those who donate to the foundation, Groh says those issues have been resolved. "Thank goodness."