Customized jersey

Quadriplegic goes paddle fishing at Keystone Lake with custom-built device

A couple from Michigan drove their quadriplegic son to Oklahoma so he could go spoonbill fishing.

The teenager’s father built a fishing device for the disabled to make this possible.

At two o’clock from home, the Timlick family wasted no time getting out on the water at Keystone Lake, ready to go fishing at dawn.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work,” said William Timlick.

William takes his 14 year old son, Waylon, fishing and hunting all the time.

In the six years since Waylon became a quadriplegic, his father has developed a fishing device for the disabled.

With the family ramp they found at a yard sale, Waylon made his way into the boat.

“Safety is number one,” William said.

Once inside, Waylon’s chair is attached and it’s time to find the fish.

“That’s why we drove 14 hours,” William said.

With the help of Nick Mefford of Keystone Lake Paddlefish Charters, Waylon rolled up the spatula, using only his mouth, to power the system his father built.

“That’s a 100 pound fish, Waylon! Your very first paddlefish!” Mefford said after the first take of the day.

A close look at William’s shirt said it all: letters that stand for “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.”

“I am William. So I am his Will, he is my Way,” William said.

But this way of life did not always seem feasible. William said an operation gone wrong changed their lives forever.

Waylon was told he would never get on a boat again.

“When he first had this surgical problem, they said he would never be on a boat. A lot of people said he would never go fishing again, he would never go fishing again. hunting. He would never have this and he would never have that and we are going to prove that he will,” William said. “We try not to look back, we try to look forward and things like this make the future worth doing.”

The family has a busy schedule, with plans to go to Texas next.

“Hopefully after that, in the winter, try hunting sharks, maybe Florida, maybe Alabama,” William said.

And wherever they go, together they prove: where there is a will, there is a way.

“Don’t give up on your children,” William said. “It doesn’t matter. If someone tells you that your child can’t do anything, no. Prove them wrong.”