2013 Best Dad on Wheels Winner Garrett Laubscher
By: Janelle LoBello
What does one give her husband for their anniversary? How about the pretty awesome gift of being named the Reeve Foundation's 2013 Best Dad on Wheels?! That's exactly what happened to Garrett and Robin Laubscher of Williamsburg, Virginia. Being crowned this year's winner, receiving bragging rights, and a $500 gift card to Tilt-A-Rack, Garrett received the news while on vacation in Florida. Garrett and Robin's immediate reaction was tons of "Woo hoo!" and "Yeah!"
With over 2,200 total votes cast in this year's contest, Garrett is flattered to have won saying, "I'm humbled, encouraged, and honored. I just keep trying to be a good dad."
On March 6, 2011 Garrett had a motor vehicle accident when his car hydroplaned. He is now living with a T10 complete spinal cord injury, with no movement from the belly button down. Father to three children when the accident happened, Garrett explains, "I remember kids each having their own reaction and responded differently."
"Our middle one [Eden, 9] was the inquisitive one asking questions like, 'What does this mean?' The oldest, Olivia [age 11] was quiet and held it all in. Grayson, our youngest and only boy, [age 7] was afraid to hurt me but now jumps all over me!"
In addition to his family, Garrett has found great support through his church which helped his family adjust. When asked what it means to give back to his community and children, Garrett, a youth minister, says, "For me, it's just a story. For other people, their reactions are very encouraging, 'Wow that's great, you've really helped me.'
"I've been on the other side," explains Garrett. "For most of my life I've been a pastor and helped people through hard times. This is a time where I had to receive. I can use my story to let people know it's okay to invite others in to help them in their life, to walk with them, and carry some of that burden. I'm learning to benefit and give."
Garrett, who grew up in Florida surfing, enjoys the beach whenever he can get there. He also jokes, "I enjoy cutting to the front of the lines now!"
Simply put, Garrett says, "I'm just a dad on wheels, I'm not much different than other dads."