Archive for Wednesday, July 28, 2004

After accident, Tonganoxie man appreciates more about his life

July 28, 2004

By Sheila Partridge

Reporter

It's likely that Tony Maurer will never think of himself as a hero.

"I really don't understand why you are doing a story on me I'm no different than anybody else," Maurer said.

But he is different.

Maurer was in a four-wheeler accident about three years ago. While going too fast he missed a turn and flew off his bike. Maurer landed on a log, breaking his back. Since then he has been paralyzed from the waist down.

Despite the accident, he went back to college and this year graduated from Pittsburg State University with a bachelor's degree in automotive technology. Now he plans to return to Pittsburg to work toward a master's degree in technical education.

Maurer admits it took time to get used to the fact that he would never walk again. After he accepted that, he started to learn how to do things all over again.

Now he does a lot of the same things he did before the accident -- just differently.

"I can still do everything I did before I just have to find different ways to do it," Maurer said.

After a small grin, Maurer said it changed him by reminding him what's important in life.

"I learned to appreciate the simple things and what really matters," Maurer said. "I appreciate every day a little more. Sometimes stuff happens then you get up and keep moving."

Maurer says his goals don't stop at getting his master's degree. He plans to teach college courses in automotive technology and he would like to own some of his own land. Eventually, he would like to give a guided hunt for handicapped people who want to hunt.

His goals are guided by one principle that he believes in.

"If you work hard you can get anywhere," Maurer said.

This summer, Maurer is living with his parents, LeRoy and Sue Maurer, and working in construction for his brother-in-law, Ken Garner. In the fall Maurer plans on returning to Pittsburg State to work on receiving his master's degree.

-- Reporter Sheila Partridge is a summer intern at The Mirror. She can be reached at (913) 845-2222.

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