Chad Hymas, who became a quadriplegic after a farming accident at age 27, fought for his life, his hope, and he shares this message freely with the students at Heritage. From overcoming habits like addiction, to embracing personal awkwardness to adventure outside your comfort zone, Chad can teach it all from his heart, and it resonates with the youth that surround him.
“Do you see these shoes?” he asks with intensity as the students nod and lean in. He leans back with a half smile and says, “I hate them.” A ripple of laughter is heard throughout the Worship Center. “I would rather be wearing cowboy boots.” And then, with just a touch of enthusiasm, “But I am sure am grateful to have them…. Why? Because I can put them on myself, — with my teeth.” He pauses to look a student in the eye and says, “It takes me two hours to get dressed each morning, but I can do it…it sets me free.”
As he shows the students a video of his children seeing him for the first time after his life-threatening accident he becomes very animated, “Look here, do you see that? That is when my son is saying, ‘Dad, mom says your legs don’t work anymore and we don’t care.’ His face softens and he almost whispers, “Will you look at that.” In rapt attention, the students watch as his sons embrace him, love him, and even work to put shoes on him, and he says softly, “And that is when I decided to keep living. It was for them…it was for them.”
There is a decision we all can make whether we can walk, to turn our limitations into our liberation. Chad Hymas teaches that in that decision is one of our greatest gifts to us and those we influence: the gift of hope. In hope there is the power to change a single life. And every student at Heritage knew that they were worth that when they left. His speech, they saw, wasn’t really about himself. It was about them. In his speech, they discovered themselves, their ability to heal, their ability to reach beyond themselves, their ability to hope.