By all accounts, Brad and Liz Soden were the picture-perfect couple. Even before they were married, the two shared similar ideals, supported each other through thick and thin, and stood by each other when life threw them challenges.
But nothing could’ve prepared them for what happened just three months before their wedding…
The Soden family was traveling in their truck and, out of nowhere, the front tire blew. The truck careened into an embankment just off the side of the road and while Brad and their sons were left with minor injuries, Liz lost all control of her legs.
They were all rushed to the hospital and that’s when doctors informed Liz that she was paralyzed from the waist down.
As a combat veteran, Brad was used to heartache on the battlefield but nothing could compare to seeing his bride miss out on some of life’s most precious experiences. Hiking, camping trips and other events where the terrain wasn’t fit for a wheelchair were off limits for Liz – and even though she tried to hide it, Brad could tell that she was disappointed.
Brad told TODAY that his wife’s sadness was the only motivation he needed to help construct something incredible.
“When you get her to cry, I’m motivated. I’ll make it happen.”
Without a college degree or any engineering background, Brad got to work determining the best way to get his wife up and moving.
After months of experimenting (and a few small fires), Brad constructed a wheelchair that was more like a tank than a simple two-wheeled push chair!
In fact, Brad dubbed the new device the “Tankchair” due to its speed, ability to conquer any terrain and handle almost every obstacle.
The Tankchair helped Liz feel like she was part of the family again. She was able to explore outdoor with her five children and enjoy the sunshine on her face in the wilderness!
Liz told TODAY that the Tankchair has given her a new sense of happiness and freedom.
“It made it where I could go out and go hiking and camping. When we went to the snow, I would sit in the car. Now I can get out, and I can chase my kids around, and I can go with them. Just the hiking and getting out — I’m not a prisoner anymore in the car and in the house.”
After the success of Liz’s chair, a bright idea struck Brad. Thinking of the countless wounded combat veterans, Brad decided to create a whole line of Tankchairs for them!
The chairs cost anywhere from $12,000 to $15,o00 but Brad plans to team up with veteran organization to provide the chairs for free! It’s a noble mission that can bring joy to the men and women who bravely fought for our freedom.
Learn more about the incredible wheelchairs and the story behind them in the video below.