Jacoby Richardson is a survivor. More than that, he’s a thriver.
Along with his family, Jacoby settled in Houston after Hurricane Katrina. For several years, he ably supported his mother, his sister and her three children, and his brother. When he lost his job because of cutbacks in the oil field, he started a new career driving a tow truck. He was willing to do anything to keep his family afloat.
Once again, bad weather got in his way. While driving home in a rain and hail storm, his car hydroplaned; he hit a curb and a tree. Jacoby was ejected from the car and landed on a concrete parking barrier.
He clearly remembers the accident. “At first, I was upset with myself. How could I mess up when I was trying so hard? Then I noticed my right leg was missing. I asked a bystander to remove my belt and wrap it around my leg to stop the bleeding. Another man held my hand and said over and over, ‘It’s OK. The Lord is with you.’”
EMTs took him to Ben Taub Hospital where doctors dealt with his broken left leg and determined his right leg could not be reattached. He went to surgery to repair damage caused by the traumatic amputation. Jacoby was in the hospital for two weeks and in Quentin Mease Hospital another two as he learned a new approach to life.
“I appreciate everything the staff did for me,” he says. “The nurses are passionate about their work and very compassionate too.”
It’s hard for Jacoby to pinpoint his biggest challenge. Perhaps it’s that he can’t work. The 31-year-old worked steadily since he was 16. It may be that he can no longer support his family and guide his brother toward a good education. He struggles to understand what will come next, though he’s encouraged by the help he’s getting from a local nonprofit organization: the possibility of a prosthetic leg and an education program that will lead to a third career.
One thing is certain, Jacoby sees success in his future. “I’m going to prove how awesome one leg can be. I’m on top and going higher.”