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Our Town: Wheelchair Gardener


KCRG TV9
By Cassie Willis, Special Projects Producer
July 2006

Our Town: Wheelchair Gardener (WMV Video - 2.5 mb)

INDEPENDENCE - A few miles east of Our Town is a farm that's blooming with color. The Spece family specializes in collector hostas, water plants and an independent spirit on four wheels.

Josh Spece grew up in the country. So it makes sense that his business grows in the country.

"The hostas are kind of my favorites. This little white one here is Fireworks. Then to the right of that is Delta Dawn and Stained Glass," said Josh as he pointed to the green, leafy plants.

Josh started the gardening business with his mother, Sue, eight years ago.

"He does a lot of consultations. He does all the ordering, all the bookkeeping. I try to keep up on the weeds, which isn't always done but I try," said Sue. Sue and other family members do the labor while Josh does the planning from his wheelchair.

"I was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It's a form of Muscular Dystrophy. And so it's something I've had my whole life," explained Josh.

His mother adds, "The nerves at the bottom of the spine are damaged and are weakened and so it starts more in the lower extremities and then it's progressive."

Josh and his two siblings were born with the same disease.

"Jacob, he does as much as he can. He has a wagon that he pulls around and hauls feed in and feeds his calves. So we try to modify things to make them as independent as possible," said Sue.

As an independent business owner, Josh has turned his favorite hobby into a growing business.

"I just like seeing things grow and everyday there's something different to see," said Josh.

His mother says she's proud to see her children grow.

"I just want them to accomplish their dreams as much as they possibly can," she says.

Sue Spece's middle child Jackie was crowned Miss Wheelchair of Iowa this year. Jackie will travel to the national competition in Arkansas later this month.

For more information, visit In the Country Garden & Gifts.

Website by Josh Spece
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