Jay Mott—proud husband of Fayth and father of Harley (9), Hailey (7), and Ava (5)—is a family man who enjoyed his career as a millwright for Minntac as well as volunteering as a baseball coach for his son’s baseball team. On the 28th of June, this year, Jay experienced a tragic event that would dramatically alter the life that he and his family share. That afternoon, at approximately 2:00 p.m., after enjoying Harley’s baseball game in Cherry, Jay was carrying his youngest daughter, Ava, to the car when they both were struck by a bolt of lightning. After being revived with CPR performed by bystanders at the scene of the incident, Jay was transported by ambulance to the Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, and then transferred to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, where he would spend about a month in the Intensive Care Unit, followed by about two months in the Miller Dwan Rehabilitation Unit.
The aftermath of Jay’s ordeal left him with paralysis of his lower extremities, as well as severe vision impairment. During his two month stay in the rehab unit at Miller Dwan Rehabilitation Unit, Jay successfully learned to walk again, with the aid of a walker, as well as guidance from his wife to help him find his way. From the very first meeting with this resilient person, Access North staff had the honor of observing the type of positive determination that is the foundation to any success story of a person with a disability overcoming the obstacles in their life. Jay told staff that he was going to return home to his wife and children and participate in their family life. “I will walk,” he stated with assertive conviction that could not be disputed by anyone.
One of the obstacles that Jay and his family encountered was the entrance to their home. The masonry stairs below their front door were quite steep and without suitable railings, making them an unsafe accessibility option for Jay to enter and exit his home to attend his outpatient rehabilitation program appointments or his cherished family functions outside of the home. Currently unable to return to his employment, and up against the financial burdens created by tragedy, the Motts, with the assistance of Access North staff, searched for financial options for modifying the front entrance to their home with a sturdy landing and low-rise steps with railings that were narrow enough to provide Jay with safe stability. Unable to find an outside source of funding, Access North decided to use its home modification mini-grant to provide the needed materials and labor to provide him with access to his home through Access North’s Ramp Program.
On October 6th, Saint Louis County STS Carpenter, David Thodal, and his crew arrived at the Mott residence, in Virginia, Minnesota, to construct a deck and low rise stairs for Jay. Jay told Access North staff that he is quite grateful that the new access option will allow him to safely get out of the confinement of his house, participate in his upcoming outpatient rehabilitation program, and more importantly to Jay—be involved in family activities, such as Harely’s upcoming hockey season. Access North Center for Independent Living has been truly honored to play a part in the successful progress that Jay Mott is making in overcoming the many obstacles that his new disabilities have brought him on his twisty road to independence.