High school teachers, students pave path for paralyzed gymnast




Posted on January 28, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 8:00 PM

She's like any other 16-year-old heading to school, but instead of walking, Jacoby Miles rides a wheelchair.

"I was pretty independent from the start, and wanted to do as much as I can by myself right away,” she said.

The last 14 months have been a long journey for the former gymnast. In November of 2012, she fell from the uneven bars at her gym in Puyallup, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down.

"She's the one who lifts us up,” said her mother, Gretchen. “She's the one who many times is saying ‘it's okay, it's okay and we're going to be okay.’”

Her home sits so close to the school that the determined teenager just rolled down a muddy trail to get there.

"She would go up a hill and come down, and her chair would tip to the sides sometimes,” said her mom. "We wondered when the day was when she's just tip over.”

Then in January a crew showed up and built a brick walkway. Jacoby sees it as a practical red carpet.

"The pathway has definitely helped,” she said.

It turned out she didn't have to look far to find those responsible.

Rogers High School science teacher Steve Bright raised the money for materials, like the sod and pavers. He got two other teachers and a handful of students at the school to help with the labor. They installed the walkway during the holiday break.

"It was a slow arduous process but it was very rewarding,” said Bright.

Tuesday, Jacoby and her family met face to face with the group to show her appreciation.

"That's so awesome,” she told them. “Thank you so much.”

For a family who doesn't have an easy road ahead, it's one less obstacle in their path.

"That trail is a constant reminder to us that we need others,” said Gretchen Miles.

The family says the brick walkway is just one of many things the community has provided for them since the accident. They'd also like to thank the Pierce County Parks and Recreation as well for its help with the project.