Off Central: Phoenix man doesn’t let spina bifida get in the way of auto repair job
PHOENIX — Automotive repair may not seem like a doable career for someone in a wheelchair, but a Phoenix man is proving that idea wrong every day.
Dave Martin has used a wheelchair since childhood. He was diagnosed with spina bifida, a birth defect that blocks the ability of spinal column bones to properly form around the spinal cord.
Martin said he never allowed his wheelchair to stop him from getting where he needed to go.
“At a young age, I had to learn to go over it, around it or through it,” he said.
Martin said growing up in the early 1970s was a different atmosphere that today when it comes to mobility.
“Nothing was [American with Disabilities Act]-compliant — there was curbs, there was steps; very few elevators, very few ramps.”
Martin said he and his two brothers — who do not have spina bifida — received some good advice from their father on how to make it in the world.
“My dad came to us three when I was about 10 years old,” he said. “He said, ‘There’s no free lunches here. If you want something in life, you better work for it.'”
And he did. Martin worked his way up from weed-picker outside his dad’s shop to automotive technician, then shop manager.
About 11 years ago, he bought Martin’s Auto Repair from his dad. He said he’s living proof anyone can achieve goals.
“Don’t stop. Don’t give up,” he said. “I really believe you don’t truly fail unless you give up.”
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