DUGGER, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Sullivan County man was shot in the face during a hunting accident and lost his sight, but Lonnie Bedwell turned that set-back into a set-up for a life of adventure.
Bedwell was involved in a hunting accident in 1997 at the age of 31.
“I took a full shotgun blast to the face and it instantly took my eyesight,” Bedwell said.
The accident also threatened to take this father of three’s spirit.
I was lying on the couch, thinking about my girls and my family thinking, you know, how am I gonna be daddy? How am I gonna do anything,” Bedwell recalled.
That’s when, one of his daughters who was five at the time, said she would help him mow around their pond.
“While all the adults were saying, no, no, no, my daughters were saying, go, go, go. You know, it’s kind of just such a powerful moment to me,” added Bedwell. “My girls were like, you’re still daddy and you still can.”
After that day, his attitude changed.
He became a carpenter.
“I do anything, framing, roofing, wiring, siding,” said Bedwell.
He even took down a wall and remodeled his kitchen, built his front porch and has helped others with their building projects.
He also got involved in adventure sports.
“Started with snow skiing. And then the snow skiing led me to mountaineering and rock climbing, kayaking, some parachuting, you know, surfing, sailing,” Bedwell laughed. “Whatever you wanna try, let’s try it.”
With the help of others, he even kayaked the fast moving waters of the Colorado River. He paddled more than 200 miles through the Grand Canyon.
Now he runs a seven mile route on a road near his house, five days a week. He’s training to climb Mt. Denali in Alaska in June. If that’s a success, Mt. Everest is next.
“We think if we can’t do it by ourselves, it doesn’t need to be done or, you know, that’s so that’s so not true,” Bedwell continued. “When it comes to all of us, what choices do we have but to live life or just exist in life. And, you know, I hope to live life and hope to encourage other people to live life. That’s what it’s meant to be lived.
Bedwell is also an author and motivational speaker.
He says if he could see again for just an hour, he would want to look at the faces of his family, drive a car, and sit in the woods. But Bedwell does not dwell on the things he can’t do, because he’s too busy doing the things he can.