On Thanksgiving morning in November, 2000, Elliot Poag got into a car with friends, who unbeknownst to him had been drinking. Elliot recalls that the driver was driving erratically and running red lights. “The road came to an end and we ran into a brick wall.” The other passengers in the car walked away from the crash, but Elliot suffered a broken neck and lost the use of his legs.
Elliot endured surgery and a month of rehabilitation, and then was placed in a nursing home. “Golly, that place was terrible. I was just laying around waiting to die.” Finally, family members took him to Augusta, Georgia. There, he met a case manager from the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. She was able to get Elliot in to a newly built independent living apartment complex in Decatur. He moved in on June 28, 2002, and has lived there ever since.
“I love Decatur and I love my neighbors. It has been a blessing. I have been independent and on my own for sixteen years. It’s like living in paradise.”
Elliot has not allowed the hardships caused by his accident to weigh him down. “I just keep a smile on my face and keep a positive attitude, no matter how bad things get. I live like the birds outside, free. In my heart, I’m always free. I believe I can fly.”