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The Joseph Groh Foundation | Grant Recipient | Michael Akins

July 10, 2023


Michael Akins by His Refurbished Accessible Minivan

Michael Akins worked for two firms in Malvern, Arkansas which build automated wheel wash systems for trucks and heavy equipment in the construction and excavation business. The two companies he worked for were founded to address the growing need in the construction and mining industries for robust, easy-to-use and maintain automated wheel wash systems for on and off-road trucks, tracked and wheeled vehicles. Michael’s work involved welding and fabrication, asbestos removal, and installing insulation among other things.

On April 26, 2021 Michael was paralyzed at C6 while helping cut down a tree!

As a result Michael was paralyzed at C6, meaning that he is paralyzed from the chest down. He was helping his cousin cut down a cedar tree so they could make it into a fireplace mantel. The tree they cut fell and hit another tree on the way down, and this tree landed on Michael. Rehab hospitals frequently asked “graduates” to come in and talk with current patients. While Michael was at the rehab hospital, one of the people who spoke with his group was William Gantt, a previous grant recipient of the Joseph Groh Foundation. This foundation was created to provide information, advocacy and financial support to people in the contracting industry who are affected by life-altering disabilities.

After Michael was released from rehab and had an opportunity to assess his needs, he sent in an application for assistance. In his application Michael was looking for support for two key areas. The first concerned adapting his vehicle for accessibility. He had been able to purchase an older wheelchair accessible minivan, but the vehicle needed to be refurbished in terms of its conversion system and hydraulics. The second item he was looking for support in was for a laptop computer. Michael was specifically looking for a laptop with accessibility software which would enable him to start working in a shop for some extra cash. Michael’s injury had reduced his income by 75%, so the computer was key to his future plans.

Thanks to the generousity of sponsors, the Joseph Groh Foundation was able to to fulfill Michael’s request.


Automated wheel wash systems cleaning various types of construction vehicles

The foundation worked with Mobility Works of Bryant, Arkansas to fix the vehicle and with Michael to purchase the computer once he found the right one. Once everything had been finalized, Michael wrote, “Thank you all for doing this for me! I really lucked out finding both this van and your foundation."

Daikin is a proud supporter of The Joseph Groh Foundation. William's story is made possible through the generous donations of the Foundation's sponsors. Light your beacon for others and become a Joseph Groh Foundation Luminary today.