Shane Jernigan, Megan Welcher, and Mae McDonnell have come together to create an all-day event April 17 at KC’s Sandbar & Grill in Downtown Fort Walton to help a dream become reality.
Musician Wayne Hall was 11 when his life forever shifted, as an accidental gun shot meant he was paralyzed for the rest of his life.
“it was a definite life change, and I had to re-learn everything,” says Hall, who has spent the last 22 years in a wheelchair and now sees a new possibility on the horizon with exoskeleton systems.
“I’ve been looking at this technology for the last 10 years, but it has been super impractical. And finally something comes along…”
But it is about more than being upright, as owning the exoskeleton has profound medical benefits for Hall. He is currently on bed rest from a recent surgery directly related to being seated all the time. “The amazing thing is to have gone 22 years without an issue,” he says. “But this time it kind of caught up with me. To have something where I could get up and move around, it’s almost unreal.”
Music became a cathartic release for Hall after the accident, “I held on to it, and it helped me get through things—to express myself in a time when I didn’t know how to express myself.”
He started out with a small acoustic guitar, until a friend wowed him with an electric. From there he found himself in area rock bands, and then “slowly, I gravitated back to acoustic,” says Hall. “So I (came) full circle, and I just love the rawness of it. When you play acoustic for people, you connect on a whole other level. It’s more intimate.”
Hall and Jernigan met through music, and Jernigan now calls Hall his little brother. Jernigan is heading the Wayne Hall Walks Fund, working towards 501(c)(3) nonprofit status to help Hall currently as well as keeping an eye on future expenses.
Jernigan reiterates the medical necessity behind the exoskeleton. “Part of the problem (Wayne) is facing is that he has so much atrophy that it’s causing him more medical issues. So to be able to get up and walk four to eight hours a day—not only would it be just basically awesome, but it would help him out physically.”
To help raise the roughly $40,000 needed, Welcher and McDonnell created the April 17 event.
“We have a little bit of everything at the event,” says Welcher. “It’s kind of a music festival-slash-Yoga festival.” The event will begin with three Yoga events. Live music and comedians will kick off at 11 a.m. and run until at least 10 p.m. Raffles, a silent auction and merchandise will also be a part of the day.
“Truthfully, I can’t think of a better person to throw a fundraiser for, because he’s the most positive, amazing guy that I have ever been introduced to,” says Welcher.
“It’s going to be a great event,” says Hall. “And I can’t believe all these people that are volunteering their time to make this happen. I’m unbelievably grateful and so humble. I’ve never really asked for anything, and I’ve always been one of those people who tries to keep moving forward. And to just have all this…I’m grateful.”
- A Taste of Puerto Rico in Fort Walton Beach
- New Orleans Chef Kevin Belton Dances Into Pensacola This Fall
- Restaurant Guide
- Where to Spend Your Happy Hours in Beachcomberland
- Behind the In-Between: Towne
- Friendship, Fun and Music
- Live Music
- The Pauseandplay.com Record Roundup
10 Things You May Not Know About Fort Walton Beach’s De’France Antiques
De’France Antiques just celebrated their 10-year anniversary but have only been in their current location for nine years. When De’France first opened, it was in a much smaller location further down Eglin...
A Taste of Puerto Rico in Fort Walton Beach
There’s an area of Fort Walton Beach that’s becoming sort of a restaurant district for me and my family. Over the years we’ve discovered a number of friendly, unpretentious, reasonably priced dining...
One on One with Lensea Film’s Jared Cramblet
By Samantha Lambert Beachcomber contributing writer Samantha Lambert sat down recently for a chat with local businessman and filmmaker Jared Cramblet, who was featured in last issue’s News from Beachcomberland. ...
Submitted by Jeff Chesser “I rescued Sadie from the highway when she was a little puppy,” Mr. Chesser tells Beachcomber. “She almost caused a wreck and wound up under my truck.” Sadie...
A New Record for Harbor Docks’ Annual Charity Auction
On August 24, Destin’s Harbor Docks restaurant held its 34th Annual Charity Auction benefiting Take-A-Kid Fishing Day and Destin Harvest. The event started with a silent auction and culminated with a live...
Behind the In-Between: Towne
By Nikki Hedrick Towne returns to our town to promote their new album In the In Between at Seaside’s REP Theatre Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7 PM. Two-thirds of the...