NYer Of The Week: Hank Carter Works To Get Shooting Victims Moving
As community leaders and elected officials work to combat gun violence across the city, this week's New Yorker works to get shooting victims moving again, almost 40 years after his good friend was shot. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
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Hank Carter moves people. And it's not just because of the wheelchairs and equipment he's donated for nearly four decades to patients at the Coler-Goldwater Hospital.
"He really makes my outlook look positive," says wheelchair recipient Jaisen Smith. "Without that, without much hope, it's hard to see a future. He provides a lot more than just equipment."
Misfortune allowed Carter to put his fortune to good use. In 1972, a stray bullet hit his friend Tjader Fogle in the neck as he went to a store in Queens. It left Fogle paralyzed from the chest down, changing his life - and Carter's - forever.
"In the mornings, I would go to work and after work, I would go over and visit him," Carter says. "My life really changed when Tjader came here to Goldwater Hospital because that's the first time in my life that I saw not one or two or three people in wheelchairs. Now you are seeing thousands."
"The first chair I had, it was one of those old wooden ones with the big wheels in the front and the little small wheels in the back and i was having fun," Fogle says.
It's just one uplifting experience during a lifetime dedicated to improving the lives of those in wheelchairs. Another involved high school basketball, one of Carter's passions.
"I said I came up with the idea that I would like to raise money for people in wheelchairs and I'd like to have a basketball game," Carter says.
That first game happened to include Bernard King, a future Knicks legend.
Thousands of fans have since donated to Wheelchairs Charity Inc., an organization still helping gun violence victims today.
"I got shot, I got shot 7 times and i'm quadriplegic," says wheelchair recipient Ramon Cruz. "It's very hard to be like this. I mean, it's extremely hard to be like this but like I said, thanks to Hank Carter made a world of a difference.
So, for giving disabled New Yorkers the wheels to put their lives in motion, Hank Carter is our New Yorker of the Week.