Paralyzed as a young boy in a car accident that killed his parents, 51-year-old Ricky Lavigne still has sky-high dreams. Today, one of them came true. YNN's John Wagner has the story.
GARDINER, N.Y. -- He can't walk, or talk. But despite his disabilities, the sky is the limit for Ricky Lavigne.
"You can understand him if you take the time and the patience to listen to him and you know what he's saying," said Donna King, the residential manager at the Abilities First Ermo House.
"He does the same thing I do, he likes to fly," said Lavigne's friend, David Noble.
For forty years, Ricky has been assisted by Poughkeepsie based Abilities First, a nonprofit serving more than 1,200 people of all ages with disabilities. Living in their Ermo House, Ricky met Donna King, a former aviation worker and partner of a pilot, David Noble. That led to him taking flight last summer, but then his dreams got even bigger.
"He loved it, I let him fly the plane a little bit, put his hands on the controls, and he smiled the whole time," said Noble.
"We were going to the airport and he said--that," explained King. "I said you want to do that? He said I want to do that. He wants to skydive, so we made it happen."
Always a big fan of World War II, the Apollo space missions, and anything to do with flight, Ricky's favorite actor, Chuck Norris, skydived in his favorite movie: 'Delta Force.'
Today, Ricky said he felt awesome.
"He thinks he's invincible, he thinks he's Chuck Norris," said King. "I was more worried about the guy he was jumping with that he might end up enjoying Ricky's lunch."
Now that Ricky's crossed skydiving off his bucket list, he said bungee jumping is next. Or, at least some tickets to a Nascar race.
"Sometimes their big dreams to us is like crossing a street, and we just help them do it," said King. "And that's the best reward there is, in life."