Ralf Hotchkiss

by Emily from North Canton

Ralf Hotchkiss (
Ralf Hotchkiss (

Ralf Hotchkiss is my hero. He is one of the founders of Whirlwind Wheelchairs International (WWI). When Ralf was in high school he was in a bad motorcycle accident in Rockford, Illinois. He lost the use of his legs and instead of sitting around and feeling bad he decided to do something about it.

Ralf went on a trip to Nicaragua in the late 1970s. While he was there he met three men that were sharing a wheelchair try to get where they are going. These men were to poor too get their own wheelchairs so they were sharing. When Ralf saw that, he thought of doing something about it. He wanted to make wheelchairs for people that were unable to get around like him and who could not afford them. He didn't want them to suffer by having to finding someone or something to use to get from place to place.

When he came back he started working on his own wheelchair design and taught wheelchair riders how to build them and use them. In 1997, the Wheelchair Mobility Center changed its name to Whirlwind Wheelchair International! Ralf started the WWI to teach people in the South America, Africa and Asia how to manufacture their own wheelchairs in a small shop. This gave him a good opportunity and the experience he had been searching for. Nobody in this world could do this well and accomplish it.

Plus this product is used all over the world. Everyone in the world has a hero, but do we know what a hero is or does for us? Well I think a hero is someone who is willing to help others without a reward. A hero is someone who is just and stands up for his/her beliefs. A hero inspires others and does not have to have superpowers. I believe Ralf Hotchkiss is a hero because he has changed people’s lives and he made something that is still used today in our world now. Also, he is a very strong man with a good heart involved.

He never gave up on anything. It didn't matter to him that he had no legs he still worked on his dream and went to college and got his degree. Hotchkiss is very dependable. The people that knew Ralf never gave up on him and told him to keep doing whatever he did because they were so proud. Plus, he did anything that he could do without legs or not.

He is a hero because he helped three men that were sharing a wheelchair together and he thought to himself I'm going to change this and I’m going to make a wheelchair for anyone who can’t get one or needs one for life.

Ralf has connection with the heroes in the past. He stood up for something he believed in and never gave up. He kept doing what he wanted. He is a very strong man and intelligent because he wanted to help and show others that you can do anything with or without legs.

Page created on 7/4/2010 9:58:30 AM

Last edited 7/4/2010 9:58:30 AM

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