The month of May is recognized as National Mobility Awareness Month, and the organization has put together a special competition to help get the word out about their services, and help a local hero get back in the action in the process.
Millions of Americans across the country have issues with mobility for whatever reason. However, many of those millions affected by mobility issues still have a higher calling to lend aid to their community no matter what challenges face them. The National Mobility Awareness Month campaign wants to help a few committed individuals, and make their situation a little easier by providing them with some state-of-the-art transportation.
The organization is currently holding a contest that helps raise awareness and help those affected in a number of ways. The contest will help by directing, hopefully, millions of people to their website, who would not have otherwise known about it; it will also allow and enable those with mobility issue to do more in their communities.
In order to participate in the contest which honors Local Heroes, one has to be nominated for the work they do in the community. Eric Arrington of the inland empire is one such Local Hero who has helped several young kids attain their goals, even though certain circumstances prevented him from reaching his own goal and childhood dream. Since then Arrington, who is affectionately known as Coach E, has set new and much more meaningful goals.
Like many young boys, Coach E’s childhood dream was to play in the NFL. Unlike many of those with that same childhood dream, Coach E’s dream was on the verge of coming true.
After a stellar high school career in the Los Angeles area Coach E attended a local junior college. After two standout years, he received a scholarship to play for the legendary Eddie Robinson at Gambling State University, one of the most prestigious HBCU. His play on the field attracted the attention of a number of NFL teams, but in his first try Coach E fell a little short. Never losing hope, he played in the Arena Football League (AFL) when it was in its early stages.
Coach E had two good years in the AFL, playing with the Los Angeles Cobras and New York Knights. His play at outside linebacker attracted the attention of NLF once again, but this time the results were going to be different. Coach E worked out with the then Los Angeles Raiders, and was eventually offered a contract and a spot within the organization. During a night of celebration with friends, Coach E would see his childhood dream end before he would ever get a chance to live it.
After dinner with friends, an altercation ensued. Coach E, always the positive peacemaker, attempted to end the altercation before it escalated. Unfortunately, the incident didn’t end peacefully where two parties involved could walk away. The worst part is that the situation left one person without the ability to walk, paralyzing him from the waist down.
“No regrets,” said Coach E. “You spend a little time asking why me and feeling sorry for myself, then I had to learn how to live again.”
Coach E spent very little time hosting his own pity party. In fact, sooner than anyone expected Coach E was back out living life doing what he loves to do, participating in football.
Coach E has been wheelchair-bound for 22 years; he has been coaching for the past 20. During that time he has coached different levels of the game, including youth, high school, junior college and Division III college. He also volunteers his time coaching youth camps, and he coaches at a camp at the University of Redlands. Some of the kids he coached have gone on to achieve the dream that was taken from him, but he couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. Some of the kids reached the NFL because of the tutelage of Coach E, including Lee Cole, who was drafted by the then Houston Oilers; Nakia Jenkins, New York Jets, and Tony Gaiter, New England Patriots.
Every year Coach E would host camps, participate in youth camps, giving kids that extra inspiration no other coach is able to.
Due to health and transportation issues, Coach E has been limited in ability as a local role model and source of inspiration. His truck is difficult to get in and out of. The constant sitting, sliding and maneuvering caused a pressure ulcer on his back side, leaving him in constant pain and making his mobility even worse. He had surgery on the pressure ulcer and was bedridden face-down for eight weeks, but it is something he would go through again if it would allow him to get back out there with the kids.
However, even with the surgery the problem will recur if something isn’t done about his mode of transportation. The public is able to help and it would only take a minute of your time and a vote.
The National Mobility Awareness Month group put together a contest where the public can support their local hero and help them while they aid others. The winners will receive a van that is specially equipped to help make mobility a little less complicated and a lot healthier and safer. To support Coach E, just go to www.vote4eric.org and place your vote. The voters can use the promo codes listed one time to give Coach E five extra points per vote; the promo codes include: 810, 853, 864, 889, 715, 716, 727, 774, 779, 911, 950. A voter can use each promo code one time to help get extra points. The voting period ends May 13.
Coach E has participated in youth football camps that included NFL players and coaches as well, and always at the end of the camp it is Coach E that is the most inspiring coach in the bunch. His absence is terribly felt by the youth who crave and need his message about never giving up and working through the most difficult situations.
“I don’t think I would change anything if I could go back to that night. What I realize is that I have been able to help more people stand tall, even though I can’t stand myself, than I would if I had accomplished my childhood dream,” Coach E says.
Playing in the NFL was his dream as a child, but as an adult his only dream is to help the youth achieve theirs, and we can help that dream come true by voting at the website www.vote4eric.com
“Life has been great,” he says. “Being able to coach and mentor the kids and having a positive impact on their life is far more fulfilling than anything I could’ve ever done. We all go through challenges in life, but like I tell them, it’s not what you go through that matters but how you go through it does.”