Wilson finds strength in helping others

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Five years ago, Skeeter Wilson fell 22 feet onto concrete and spent 40 days in a coma. Doctors told him he would be a paraplegic.

Today, he is welding, wheeling and working on walking independently of his arm crutches.

&8220;I can even dance with them a little,&8221; Wilson said.

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He was a welder at the International Paper plant until a support fell out from under him in 2001.

&8220;They took out part of my brain,&8221; he said, pointing to an indentation in his skull. &8220;I had nerve damage to my legs from hitting my head.&8221;

Wilson, of 252 Lower Woodville Road, is improving at a faster pace than his doctors could have hoped for, he said.

&8220;I get more and more feeling in my feet all the time,&8221; he said.

&8220;The newest feeling is in my toes.&8221;

He gets a little workman&8217;s compensation, he said.

Wilson also welds the famous deer stands he started making before the accident. Stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana carry his stands, he said.

&8220;I get a little extra cash from it,&8221; he said.

&8220;The main reason I do it is to help unemployed people.&8221;

Wilson has four or five former IP hands helping him build the stands.

&8220;God kept me here to help people,&8221; Wilson said. &8220;A lot of those who work for me, if not for me, they would not have anything.&8221;

Along with tree stands, Wilson builds specialty items. Cargo racks and fish fryers are popular. And after his accident, he came up with an idea of building portable wheelchair ramps.

&8220;It helps a lot of people,&8221; he said.