Meet Montevallos Paul Boyd
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Meet Paul Boyd.
A familiar sight on Montevallo&8217;s streets is Paul Boyd riding in his breath-controlled wheelchair back and forth from home to school or the Eclipse Coffee Shop.
He greets everyone he sees with a smile.
He knows many of them by name. Paul Boyd is at home in this town.
Paul is a quadriplegic &045; has no use of any of his four limbs &045; but in many ways, Paul is not handicapped.
He has a whole community of friends, a wonderful supportive family, a very active and creative mind, and he will graduate from the University of Montevallo in May of 2007.
Growing up in Montevallo, Paul gained a sense of belonging.
At a very young age he learned the value of volunteering and taking part in school and community activities.
In high school, he served on the student council, played both football and baseball, ran cross-country, volunteered with the local fire department, was in the honor society and participated in many other activities.
He is most proud of a project he initiated as a high school student, called the White Carnation Fund, where students raise money for Thanksgiving turkeys that they distribute to the poor. The project has been continued in his honor.
When asked why he enjoys these kinds of projects, Paul explained, &8220;I get pleasure from helping others because others have helped me so much.&8221;
Paul graduated from MHS in 1994 and headed to Troy State University,
where he began a college career that should have been both fun and successful.
Fate interfered early in his sophomore year with a terrible accident that left him completely paralyzed below the collarbone.
Returning home after months in the hospital, he was still very sick and understandably depressed.
Upon his arrival, he remembers with great emotion how his spirits were lifted when he was told that the sirens he heard were the city police and firemen there to escort his ambulance expressing their &8220;welcome home.&8221;
As they circled the downtown area, they saw friends and neighbors along the streets waving and calling out their welcome.
The sense of love and support has never left Paul.
He explained that he could never have made it without his loving family and the Montevallo community.
In a recent interview he said, &8220;My affection for this community epitomizes the word &8216;Topophilia,&8217; described in Webster&8217;s New International dictionary of the English-language literally as love of place. It is a term used to describe the strong sense of place or identity among certain peoples.&8221;
Now Paul is a dynamo of activity.
He is a full time student at UM majoring in creative writing, expects to graduate in the spring and seek employment in sales and the development of technology for people with disabilities.
He plans community service activities for his Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, speaks with young students about how to treat handicapped people, works with his Montevallo Accessibility project making sidewalks and buildings wheelchair accessible and builds web sites.
His newest venture is the Montevallo Teachers Hall of Fame to honor exceptional public school teachers.
Those who would like to help with this project may contact Paul through his web site.
Paul&8217;s web site, everythingpaul.com, is both humorous and informative.
A choice remark on the home page is: &8220;The only thing that separates me from the average man is that I never stand up.&8221;
People in Montevallo disagree – they think that Paul Boyd &8220;stands tall.&8221;
An added note:
Since this interview Paul&8217;s life has been interrupted by major surgery but we are certain he will soon take up where he left off.
Cards may be sent to his home address at 460 Cherokee, Montevallo, AL