No matter how great the challenge, Brock Mealer knows there’s a way through.
When he visits Fayette High School at 1 p.m. Sunday, Mealer will talk about the adversity he’s overcoming.
One percent is an important number in Mealer’s life. Following a tragic traffic accident three years ago, the Wauseon native was told his chances of ever walking again were less than one percent.
Within a few weeks of the accident, Mealer was able to move his legs while lying in a hospital bed. He knew then he might have a chance of making the one percent.
A few months later he was walking short distances with the help of a walker and full leg braces. He finally decided to accept an offer of help from the University of Michigan strength coaches who knew about Mealer from his brother, Elliott, who played with the Wolverines as an offensive lineman.
While Mealer worked on his master’s degree in economics at Ohio State, he would drive to Ann Arbor for strengthening work, and he sometimes made the drive five times a week. It was worth the effort.
Eventually he was convinced to remove the leg braces and switch to a small ankle brace and through the weeks his legs and hips strengthened.
He put down his crutches and began using two canes to walk short distances. Lately he’s begun walking with the help of only one cane for continued conditioning, although he often still walks with two.
Mealer frequently tells his story of perseverance and faith to youth groups, and Fayette is on his schedule for Sunday, thanks to the effort of Nancy Cooley who was one of Mealer’s teachers when he was growing up in Wauseon.
“Nancy called him and he said ‘yes’,” explained Rodney Bingman, who is helping organize the event for the Fayette United Methodist Youth (F.U.M.Y.) group.
Mealer’s visit has particular meaning to Bingman, a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
“I was a state trooper at this crash,” Bingman said. “I’ve followed Brock since then and Elliott at U of M.”
Many people in Northwest Ohio are aware of the Mealers’ tragedy and of Brock’s recovery.
“He’s someone we can relate to since he’s local,” Bingman said. “He’s an inspiration to everyone.”
Sunday’s event begins with a fund-raising potato dinner sponsored by F.U.M.Y from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bingman said the group had been inactive for some time until he and some other parents decided to reorganize the group last October. There were 11 youths at the first meeting and the number has now grown to 28.
Bingman emphasizes that Brock Mealer’s talk is not just a youth group event but is open to the public.
“We want to touch as many lives as possible,” he said.