Every patriotic citizen considers it their duty to stand when their nation’s flag is displayed. However, this is a privilege most of us take for granted. There are a number of disabled individuals who wish to stand up but are unable to do so. Among them is Arek Tenholm, from Florida.
The sixteen-year-old is bound to a wheelchair but stood up in order to pay homage to his nation at a local homecoming parade. Having been disabled for years, it was the second time he had stood up in the last seven years. A photograph of the heroic event recently went viral, resulting in veterans recognizing his valor and presenting him with a standing wheelchair.
A Moment of Valor Captured
Arek was accompanying his family outside his uncle’s photography studio in Leesburg, Florida. When the homecoming parade passed by, followed by the ROTC, Arek decided to stand up in respect, using his arms. His mother called out to her brother Myron Leggett in joy, who luckily captured the fleeting moment and uploaded it to his Facebook account.
In his post, he told people of Arek’s Spina Bifida and how he refused to give in to his disability at a moment when he wanted to stand up to show his love for the country. Leggett also told people that they should learn from Arek’s patriotism and spirit. The photo gained overnight popularity and Arek was applauded by hundreds of people.
A Patriot from a Young Age
Even long before the teenager was presented a wheelchair for his heroism, Arek’s family always found him brimming with patriotism. As a result of this, Arek’s mother, Deree Trenholm, always makes sure to get him leg braces with the United States flag on them.
Arek has been inflicted with Spina Bifida, a birth defect that affects the growth of the spinal cord. Although his family never pressurized Arek to stand up or made him feel like it was an obligation, Arek still felt the need to do so at this particular event.
Recognition from the Right People
After the teen pulled off the heroic act of patriotism, what Arek and his family did not expect was Veteran Scott Leisch stumbling upon his photograph. Upon seeing it, Leisch showed it to his employers at The Standing Company, who were all veterans themselves. The Michigan-based group then decided that Arek deserved to be shown recognition for his bravery and courage. This recognition came in the form a state-of-the-art standing wheelchair. Leisch himself being a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair, surprised Arek with the amazing gift. After presenting the heroic teen with the wheelchair, Leisch stayed back to help the teen get used to it. The veterans at the Standing Company intend for the wheelchair to give Arek more independence and to help him stand upright with more ease.
Arek’s story is not only beautiful but is also very inspirational. What he did took immense courage and strength, which may serve as a source of motivation for people who are bound to wheelchairs to try and overcome their difficulty in whatever way they can.