Hunter encourages safety after being paralyzed

Mary Free Bed

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Geoff Newymer has always basked in nature’s glory. By the age of 12, he was hunting solo.

“When I was a little kid, my dad would take us out hunting and finishing,” Newmyer said. “When I was 12 years old, I was legal, and from that moment on, I was in a tree hunting by myself.”

For years, Newmyer hunted up high, until a trip into the woods 12 years ago forever changed his vantage point.

“I was coming back down out of a tree and I was on my way back down, about 12 to 15 feet, (when) a branch broke and I fell,” Newmyer said.

He spent nearly two years in therapy at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, recovering from a broken and dislocated back. The accident left him paralyzed, but the fall did not break his spirit.

Despite his challenges, Newmyer hunts from his off-roading wheelchair, the Outbounder. He’s taken it all over the country and Canada, but the best move he’s made is teaching other hunters how to keep from ending up in one.

He teaches a hunter safety course through the Norton Shores Police Department.

“We teach now a lifeline and that’s a rope going up to the tree and it’s attached to your hunter safety full-body harness, so from your first step up to your last step down, you are always tied to that rope,” Newmyer said.

Newmyer wasn’t wearing a lifeline when he fell, but instead of focusing on how he ended up in a wheelchair, he focuses on the only one who can bring him out of it.

“l pray to get up and walk out of this chair,” Newmyer said. “I know it’s going to take a miracle, but I know God can do that.”

Anyone who wishes to enroll in the Norton Shore Police Department’s Hunter Safety Program may visit their website.

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