James Walter Moore, Jr. -- or Jimmy -- grew up in Morganton, NC. He attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.
Jimmy was quit the athlete. Soccer, skiing, track and anyone that knows Jimmy knows how good a cook he is.
People tell stories about the things he has cooked. Chicken Bog. Jag (a spicy Portuguese rice and sausage dish). Anything on the grill. He could whip up a damn good casserole like no one's business.
Jimmy worked in news for 10 years. He started in Macon, GA. Then went to Myrtle Beach, SC. Then to Rhode Island. Then back to Myrtle Beach where he became Chief Photographer.
Then in late 2009, we both left our jobs at rival stations in Myrtle Beach to come to the Upstate of South Carolina again, working for rival stations. Eventually he started working at my station for better benefits, more vacation time and more money.
It was the first time we had worked with each other and it was nice. I learned first-hand that he was a phenomenal photographer and way more passionate about his job than I was mine. I truly admired that about him.
Jimmy was in a news car headed to an assignment when his accident happened on August 8, 2011.
He knew enough to tell the first responder that he couldn't feel his legs. That signaled to them how serious this thing was. They life-flighted Jimmy to the nearest trauma unit. He didn't realize how bad it was until he was put into a hospital elevator on a stretcher that had a reflective ceiling. He saw all the blood from his head wound and thought: this is bad.
He had no idea.
The crash mangled his body just enough to cause paralysis and just like that Jimmy would have a new life.
But... BUT.. he lived.
Throughout Jimmy's recovery at The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, he kept a positive attitude. He was loved very much by his doctors, nurses, and therapists.
He's still well known throughout the halls of Shepherd.
We've seen a lot of people, in better circumstances, with crappier attitudes. People with arm movement. People use their arms to push themselves along bitching about getting up early for therapy. Not wanting to work hard.
Jimmy never once complained. He gets tired easily and has his days but he was willing to go to therapy, classes, and clinics. He was always willing.
His attitude helped me get through.
In a year and a half, Jimmy hasn't had any major complications that has landed him back in the hospital. He's been weening himself off the ventilator thanks to a cutting-edge device called a DPS.
It's basically a pacemaker for his diaphragm. The ability to fully contract his diaphragm was affected with his injury.
This helps him get full breaths without the ventilator -- which is huge. He sleeps on the ventilator some nights, but stays off the vent all day, most days.
He hasn't had much going on in the way of new movement but can feel pressure on his bottom and can feel coldness in his legs. He can also do a mean shoulder shrug.
We're prepared if he never regains any movement. Jimmy can handle it. But we also remain hopeful.
We've taken several vacations. We've gone to several professional sporting events, including: baseball, basketball and tennis.
We go out to eat.
We go shopping.
We run errands.
We go to The Shepherd Center a few times throughout the month for doctor's appointment and peer support.
Jimmy is now able to use his voice-activated computer without any assistance. He can use his phone with a mouthstick. He can stay connected.
He's a master at driving his sip-and-puff chair.
There are always new medications, studies, and trials. I feel optimistic for our future and being near two major hospitals.
In the meantime, we'll continue to try and live quality lives here in Atlanta.
Our case managers and doctors are impressed with how Jimmy has adjusted and how well he's doing.