We asked Scott Reardon to speak to the crowd about his latest water skiing achievement of becoming the World Overall Disabled Water Ski Champion after the World Championships held in France in September this year. Scott has overcome great adversity just like Sam after losing his right leg in a farm accident when he was only 12 years old. Scott is now focusing on an athletics career and is training hard with the ambition of becoming a member of the Australian Paralympic team for London 2012. He is a very determined and talented young man and we wish him all the best for his future.
Sam had us all enthralled as he told his story from his childhood raised on a family farm, to his jackarooing experiences in the NT, to his tragic accident which left him a quadriplegic, to his long rehab in hospital and then back home with his parents, to learning how to farm from a wheelchair, to finding and falling in love with Jenny, to his remarkable life of travelling and speaking now. He truly is an inspiration! We certainly have nothing to complain about!!!
Jenny spoke about how her relationship started with Sam and how much she enjoys her life now even though it's not quite what she'd envisaged for herself.
I had to make a speech as I was the person who thought of bringing Sam and Jenny to speak at a community event for our little town. All the other Ag n Chat ladies were on stage with me for moral support as I was shaking like a leaf reading my speech!!
Sam and Jenny posed for a photo with us Ag n Chat ladies when the night was over. It was a huge relief for us when the night was declared a huge success.
Sam spoke to the school students from the 4 small schools in our Shire. He donated a signed copy of his book "Head Over Heels" to each school library.
Farmer Phil and I took Sam and Jenny to Yanco Ag High School where Ryan and Emma are students, to speak there. Most of the school population are kids who have grown up on farms and have a rural background. Sam's message about wearing a seat belt and not speeding really made an impact on these kids. He even suggested writing the letter "C" for consequences and "SAM" underneath on the windscreens of their vehicles to emphasise seat belt wearing and not speeding as the consequences of both can be significant on the rest of your life.
Jenny is a tiny little pocket rocket and amazing woman. She and Sam have a wonderful partnership and relationship which was lovely for the kids to see. Sam said he wouldn't change anything about his life because he reckons he's got the best life of anyone ever!!
Yanco Ag had to host Sam and Jenny in the dining hall as the regular hall was being used to hold the HSC examinations. Sam asked 4 boys to lift him and his wheelchair up onto a table so that he could see all the students. Many questions were asked by the students after Sam spoke so it was great to know that the kids had really listened to his story and message.