Walworth, N.Y. - An accident nearly stole a Walworth’s man’s dream. Until a neighbor stepped in with some scrap metal, a welding torch and an idea. “It was a challenge and that’s where I thrive is with a difficult challenge,” says Gregory Hartman.
His neighbor and fellow Lions Club member Vaughn Pemroke had a retirement dream: To cross the country aboard two wheels. “You’re concentrating on the road, feeling the rush of air past you. It’s just a beautiful thing,” says Pembroke.
All that changed when he hit a sudden dust storm in Utah on May 28, 2010. “I went into the dust, you couldn’t even see the handlebars,” Penbroke recalls. “I was on the brakes as hard as I could be, I remember the crunch.”
The crash left him with a T-4 spinal injury, paralyzed from the chest down but able to use his hands and arms. He was determined to ride again. “I have the use of both hands which is an enormous advantage,” he says.
So he purchased a specially-equipped motorcycle equipped with hand controls and demonstrates how they work. “This is a hand throttle - this is my reverse button because I can’t touch my feet down.”
The hurdle that remained? Getting on board and staying there safely without the use of legs or abdomen muscles that no longer work.