By MATT SCHUCKMAN Herald-Whig Sports Writer
(Article and photo reprinted with permission from the Quincy Herald-Whig, January 13, 2009. Houchins graduated from C-SC in 2004 with a degree in communications.)
Josh Houchins sees nothing heroic in what he does."I'm doing what everybody else would do," he said. "Wanting to pay taxes and have a normal life."Not everyone sees it as such."I'm honored by the fact that my normal life would be considered heroic to someone else," said Houchins, a Ewing, Mo., native who has used a wheelchair since a 1997 car accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. "That's what kind of gets me."
The 27-year-old host of "WGEM SportsCenter" and radio sales representative for WGEM will be honored Wednesday as one of Missouri's 12 unsung heroes on the floor of the General Assembly.A resolution will be read in the state Senate honoring Missourians who have "achieved, accomplished or overcome something remarkable in their lives." They also are featured on the 2009 Senate calendar.
Houchins' parents, Richard and Jeana, and his sister, Ashli, will accompany him to Jefferson City, and he sees this as much an honor for them as it is for him."I'm going with my heroes," Houchins said. "They are the ones who got me through life."They did it unselfishly. Houchins' sister transferred from Columbia College to Culver-Stockton College to help him get acclimated to his first two years at the school and continues to be a source of support."She's like the confidante in my life," he said. "She's the person I can tell anything to. She's still that best friend. That's pretty special."He's equally close to his parents, who have dealt twice with tragedy.
Houchins was 15 years old when he suffered a severed C-5 vertebrae in his neck in a single-car accident about a mile from his house. The driver of the car, Pat Schroeder, was killed in the accident.The following May, Houchins' older brother, Justin, died in his sleep from a lesion that had developed on his stomach. He was 24 years old.
"My parents have been through absolute hell, yet they smile every day," Houchins said. "It's amazing."It's made an everlasting impression."I appreciate my parents so much, so much," Houchins said. "They've been through a crazy amount of stuff in their lives, yet they have the same outlook on life that I do. Nothing gets them down. They don't dwell on anything."
Neither does Houchins, who sees his everyday activities as leading a normal life."Who said it's not for the good? I've learned more about myself than I ever would have if this didn't happen," Houchins said. "Do I wish it didn't happen? Yes, but I dealt with it the best I know how, the best I was raised."
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