Quadriplegic paraglider traveling through Utah has trailer 'home' stolen
(KUTV) -- A quadriplegic paraglider touring the country who is helping kids with disabilities had his trailer stolen that he calls "home".
It’s not just any trailer; it’s a customized trailer that allows Joe Stone, 33, uses to help others. He is now hoping the public can help him find the stolen trailer.
“Flying, it’s true freedom. I think it is for everybody that way for different reasons," Stone said. “While you’re doing it, you kind of forget about everything else in life, you’re really in the moment.”
For just a few moments, there're no limitations, Stone told 2News.
“For me the disability goes out the window, it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t even think about it, it’s not even a thing until I touch down again,” he said.
In 2010, Stone was injured in a paragliding accident and woke up a different man.
Stone suffered a permanent spinal cord injury at the C7 level making him an incomplete quadriplegic, meaning he is paralyzed from the chest down and has impairment in both of his hands. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him from continuing to be active.
“As time went on, I started setting my own goals with hand-cycling, triathlons," Stone said.
He had his sights set in paragliding again. With the help of Project Airtime here in Utah, he was able to soar again.
“We’ve taken the flying with the wheelchair further than anyone of us ever thought it would go," he said.
A few weeks ago, Stone set out on a mission to travel the country, to paraglide as much as he could and to help flight parks become more disability friendly.
“So I just went all in and living in this camper, it’s my home at this point," he said.
A little hot here in Utah, he chose to get a room at the Sandy Marriott Residence Inn. While he was out at Point of the Mountain paragliding Wednesday he returned to find his trailer missing,
“I drove around the corner here and looked and it was gone," he said. “It’s kind of a dirty feeling to know that somebody stepped into your private property like that and took advantage like they did.”
Clothes, computers and filming equipment was in the trailer that was built specifically for Stone.
“In this situation, they (the thieves) didn’t know I was a wheelchair user; they didn’t know I was living out of that," he said.
It would take months for him to even get it replaced.
“These campers that I use are built to order, so it’s not like I can just buy one and it comes off-the-shelves, so to speak," he said.
Stone is now stuck in Utah and will miss a family vacation he’s had planned for more than a year. He said he hopes the people who took his home really understands the impact this has on him.
“I hope they recognize, that even if I don’t get the camper back, that it may be changes their own mindset of what they’re doing," he said.
If you have any information or happened to see the trailer, call Sandy Police at 801-799-3000.
If you’d like to help replace Stone’s trailer or stolen items, there is a GoFundMe set up at www.gofundme.com/replace-stolen-items-for-foundation