Mowing lawns, shoveling snow, pulling weeds—it’s tedious work that you need to keep up with, lest your lawn becomes a total mess.
Still there are those who refuse to do their own yard work, opting to hire a landscaper to do it for them. If you live in Regina, Canada, you might end up contracting a man named Howard Desjarlais.
He does landscaping without either of his legs … what’s your excuse?
When Howard Desjarlais lost both his legs, he grew rather depressed at first.
Desjarlais didn’t lose both his legs at once, but he lost them in the same way, from accidental injuries which became infected to the point of requiring amputation from the knee down. He lost his first leg at 19 years old and his second at 28.
Losing one leg is scary enough, but losing both is just devastating! Desjarlais certainly felt that agony after losing his second leg, and he continues to feel bad about it from time to time.
“I cry here and there at night time,” Desjarlais told CBC. “I miss them. I do miss them.”
For a while afterward, Desjalais had trouble finding work. This only made his depression worse.
“He kind of fell off, with drugs and alcohol,” his mother, Nettie Quewezance, told CBC.
Fortunately though, this didn’t last forever.
“Once he got over that, he was really back to himself,” said Quewezance.
Soon, however, Desjarlais found work as a landscaper.
After those initial hurdles, Desjarlais figured out how he could earn his keep without legs.
Ever since he was a little kid, he had been doing yard work. When he was around 7 years old, he mowed lawns and shoveled snow to earn money for his family.
“There [were] times that I ran out of food, milk, bread, stuff like that,” Quewezance said. “He would come home with it.”
He soon realized he could still do these things as an adult—even without legs—as his determination would pull him through.
“I like working, and if I don’t get a job done I get frustrated. I have to get it done,” Desjarlais said. “My legs don’t stop me from doing what I want to do.”
He now has a consistent way of earning money to support his family, including his two children. Now that he has started, he hasn’t slowed down the work. If anything, he’s only been working harder.
“This is my spirit here,” Desjarlais said. “I know it’s inspiring people.”
Once his story was made public, he was offered a special gift.
The original CBC story about Desjarlais was published on May 31. Soon after, community members Sylvia Spicer and her son Kelly Speiler were compelled to gift Desjarlais a scooter so that he could get around easier.
“I was just scrolling through [Facebook], and saw the CTV story and I read it,” Spicer told CBC. “My heart just broke, and I phoned [Speiler] and said, ‘We’re doing this.’”
Half an hour later, she received a reply from Desjarlais’ brother giving the go ahead to buy the scooter. They ordered it online and, when it arrived, they personally delivered it to Desjarlais.
“I was very happy. I didn’t even realize I was going to get it,” Dejarlais said.
The next goal is to raise money for a trailer and ramp to haul equipment.
If you want to help out, visit his GoFundMe page.