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Wheelchair-bound man underscores importance of faith in God

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

KEITH Tucker had no idea that simply repositioning his Mitsubishi Lancer in the middle of the road to avoid sand would have changed his life significantly.

On July 26, 1996, Tucker was involved in a terrible motor vehicle crash that left him paralysed from the neck down. Naturally, individuals would expect him to be in a state of deep melancholy about his new reality, but he wasn't.

“When things happen in life, sometimes you don't come to the realisation of it. Sudden events happen in people's lives, as it did in mine. I didn't give it any thought,” Tucker told the Jamaica Observer, adding that his faith in God has kept him going.

Tucker said he kept reassuring himself, saying, “I know I'm going to get out of this and I know I'm going to get over it”.

“I was able to think like that because I had a praying grandmother who always encouraged me in the faith. I also had a very good friend; his name is George Kerr. He came to my bedside every single day and he shared the scriptures with me. I'm a firm Christian and that's what kept me going. So when the realisation really hit me, I was already being nurtured, being encouraged. I wasn't devastated because of that, and that's a very key thing for anybody at all,” Tucker recounted.

After an extended period of therapy at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, formerly the Mona Rehabilitation Centre, Tucker relocated to a nursing home.

He was once a very active individual, so having to become accustomed to sitting down and doing nothing at all took some getting used to.

“I got myself acquainted with the computer. I started teaching mathematics, keeping the brain sharp. I started with one person who visited me. Eventually I started helping the nurses' children and other persons.

“Persons would come in to me and I would teach them CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) maths up to UTech (University of Technology) first-year [level]. They got very good grades, up to 98 per cent average. This was all voluntary work,” Tucker said.

Recognising his ability and will to be gainfully occupied, the nurses at the home encouraged him to apply for jobs.

Tucker took the plunge and applied for jobs. He was interviewed at his home by managers and was offered positions by two prospective employers.

Recalling something that was prophesied over his life in 1998 that he would work at Scotiabank, he accepted that company's offer.

“The employees at Scotia accepted me with love 100 per cent. My co-workers feed me and help to look after me. If a mosquito is on my shoulder they brush it off. They set me up for work. They make sure that everything is set in place for me to take over from there. There is no discrimination; they treat me like I'm just like them, up and about and able.”

Tucker has been employed at Scotia's Customer Service Centre since 2004. His confinement to a wheelchair is not a hindrance. He has little strength in his left hand, which enables him to do his work.

“I can hold light things like apple and bread. So that's the hand I use to operate the keyboard and mouse at work. When I get there in the morning, they put on the headset for me to make sure that I'm fine, and then I'm good to go for the rest of the day,” Tucker explained.

According to Tucker, he receives the same love and support from his church family at Christian Fellowship World Outreach like he does from his co-workers.

One church member in particular, Marlon Bendison, has become like a second brother to Tucker. Bendison and his family make themselves available to transport him to different places, if necessary.

Tucker said he has learnt a lot since his the crash, but the most important lesson he has learnt is to have faith.

“I was a person who was always on the go. At that time, I wanted to become an avionics engineer — I was very good with my hands and did many things,” Tucker told the Observer. “Now I have to wait and depend on people.

”So it has taught me to be patient, but most importantly, it has taught me to have faith in God. A lot of times we do our own thing and don't wait on God,“ he continued.

Tucker has documented his journey in a book entitled God's Miracle Man: Against All Odds. He said he wrote the book, which is available at Sangsters Book Store, Kingston Bookshop, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, to motivate other disabled people.