CASTLE ROCK, Colo. - Woodworking is Jerry Powell's passion.
"You just have to do something to show your support. Fortunately, Castle Rock Woodworks gives me an outlet to be able to do that," said Powell, owner of Castle Rock Woodworks. "When I feel that somebody needs to be represented in the community, we try to do it well."
Over the years, he's donated his time, skill and materials to several community projects. During the pandemic, he made free carpentry kits for kids to give them something to do while being stuck at home.
"We distributed 18,000 kits ourselves, that was local pickup as well as what we shipped out. We gave up counting after about 120,000 kits worldwide in over 20 countries," he said.
Powell has also created memorial badge plaques for fallen law enforcement officers and crafted several projects to honor the STEM School Shooting hero, Kendrick Castillo.
He's moving a little slower these days, but to be moving at all makes him grateful. He is on week three of getting used to his new prosthetic leg.
"2022 was a rough road," Powell said.
In February, he woke up and his entire right leg was numb. He went to the emergency room, where doctors ran tests.
"[The doctor] said, "We're transferring you to (Porter Adventist Hospital) in Denver. You'll likely lose both of your legs tonight,"" Powell recalls. "It's actually just a genetic anomaly. Basically, I lost the genetic lottery."
Dozens of surgeries later, his left leg is likely saved, but the right leg had to be amputated.
"I went from a guy who was tending to cattle and working in a wood shop every day to bed bound," said Powell.
After being out of work for months and having medical bills pile up, there are more challenges ahead for Powell and his family. A quote from his late father keeps coming to mind.
""Teach, always teach. If you must, use words." It was the most profound thing I've ever heard in my life. And it's how I try and allow my actions to be guided when I think that can be done," said Powell, "I have a leg, I'm trying to get back out into my community as much as possible, and get back to being active with my kids at school — all those things that are important to a person. But there's a lot of folks in my position that are unseen."
He said in the future, he hopes to work with patients who have been forced to make a similar major life adjustment.
"Peel back a little and give yourself the same consideration that you would give a stranger. Be kind to yourself. Allow things to play out, then figure out your new normal, and then execute with purpose. That's the important part: execute with purpose," Powell said.
Health insurance did not cover the entire cost of Powell's medical treatment. His family has set up a fund to help get them back on track. If you are interested in donating, click here.
"I will just keep paying it forward the best I can. Where I feel I can do some good, I'll attempt to do so," said Powell.