Boy Scout Troop #398
meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For
more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society
meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the
Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club
meets each week on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and Saturday
afternoons at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON
meets at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous
meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and
Saturday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club
meets from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every Thursday for fellowship and
dancing. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. A
donation $5 per person is asked.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club
meets at noon each Wednesday at Lakeridge RV Park
in Gun Barrel City (across from D.Q.), except the second week of the
month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber
of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club
meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more
information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club
meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club
meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more
information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333
meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and
fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903)
451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Girl Scout Troop #112
meets at the First United Methodist Church in
Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For more info, call
GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943 or Malisa Bilberry at (903) 340-7451,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101
meets the second Monday of each month at the
Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Friendship Club meets
at 1:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County
Resource Center. For more information, call Janie Ivey at (903)
Girl Scout Troop 2667
meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church.
For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild
meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the
Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903)
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club
meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm
Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For
more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club
meets at noon each Tuesday at the Nutrition Center
in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903)
Lake Area Council of the Blind
meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens
Lake Area Democrats Club
meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Dairy Queen in
Seven Points. Everyone is welcome. Email email@example.com for
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club
meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each
month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club
meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of
every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch
meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month
at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in
the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center
Board of Directors
meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each
month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For more
info, call (903) 498-2140.
SUICIDE SURVIVORS GROUP
for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide,
meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly)
meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist
Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center
at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a
support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more
info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 489-2259.
MHS grad to use new
to battle paralysis
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–A Mabank High School graduate paralyzed in a motocross
accident last spring is looking forward to starting a revolutionary
rehabilitation program in a new home during the new year.
Tyler Thomas, who turned 22 Dec. 16, will be moving to Austin in
January to be the first client at Roll to Walk, a new rehabilitation
center with a program based on Project Walk in California.
“At Project Walk, they have more of a ‘fix-it’ attitude than a
‘live-with-it’ attitude,” Thomas said.
“When you walk through the door, right there is a Hall of Fame wall
with nothing but pictures of people holding their wheelchairs over
their head,” Thomas said.
A 2005 Mabank High School graduate, Thomas was a 21-year-old junior
at Stephen F. Austin State University when he lost control of his
motorcycle and crashed at a motocross track in Canton May 16.
Thomas was flown to Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, and found to
have broken three vertebra in his spine and damaged his spinal cord.
Surgery May 21 and May 28 repaired the vertebra, but Thomas remains
paralyzed from the waist down.
“As much as I talk bad about him (the surgeon), he did a fantastic
job,” Thomas said. “The biggest thing you hear is people being
really nice, and telling you – nicely – that you’re never going to
Mom Debra Thomas, an employee at Clay Structures in Mabank, said her
son is still working through the standard steps everyone goes
through when faced with a life-changing situation – anger first,
followed by denial, self-pity and later, acceptance.
“Tyler has never once asked ‘why me?’” she said. “Instead he asks,
‘where do we go from here?’
“Tyler hasn’t gotten to the acceptance step yet,” she added. “That
is motivation for him to move forward with his recovery.”
After going through several weeks of rehabilitation at the Baylor
Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas, Tyler returned home July 2,
and found daily life much more difficult than he anticipated,
despite some renovations to the Thomas home to make it more
“We were lucky when we went home,” he recalled. “When we built the
house, it actually is fairly accessible, but it’s still a lot more
of a challenge.”
At Baylor, there were nurses and physical therapists usually right
there to pick up a dropped pencil or bring your toothbrush, Tyler
“As helpful as my parents (Dennis and Debra) and my sisters (Jessica
and Macey) were, they still had to go back to work,” he said.
As anyone faced with a lengthy stay at home has discovered, daytime
television gets old pretty quick, and Tyler soon started coming up
to Clay Structures during the day.
There, he began working with Tyson Johnson on rehabilitation
exercises, and using the Internet to research possible
The family discovered Project Walk, a 501(c)(3) non-profit
organization located in Carlsbad, Calif., which uses an intensive
series of physical therapies, education and support to help
individuals with spinal cord damage improve their quality of life.
Tyler visited Project Walk twice, in July and October, and uses
exercises he learned there in his workouts with Johnson.
“No matter how they come in (to Project Walk), they’re all living a
better quality of life than they were,” Debra Thomas said.
“It’s upbeat,” Tyler said. “Nobody is worried about saying the wrong
“When people see somebody in a wheelchair, they’re usually very
cautious to ask what’s going on and what happened,” he added.
“A lot of people think that nerves don’t regenerate, and that’s just
not true,” Tyler said. “The problem is usually scar tissue, or
excessive swelling that cuts off circulation to the nerves.”
“At Project Walk, they believe that the nervous system can be
re-stimulated by re-routing,” Debra Thomas said.
“Using different nerves for different functions,” Tyler added.
Without re-training, the body tends to settle in a wheelchair
position, Debra Thomas said, noting she has found Tyler’s legs
trying to fold up into a seated position when he is lying in bed.
“What this (program) does is train your body to do what you want it
to do,” she said. “It really is a matter of life and death how
(Tyler) cares for himself.”
During the past decade or so, studies have shown people with brain
damage have the ability to re-learn an activity, apparently by
re-routing specific nerve impulses through other parts of the brain.
That approach also appears to work with spinal cord injuries.
Former “Superman” movie action star Christopher Reeve, who was
paralyzed in a horse-riding accident, was a leading supporter of
therapies to teach different nerves to carry voluntary nerve
Doctors and therapists from around the world have come to Project
Walk to learn the program’s exercises and approaches, and carry that
knowledge back to their own countries, Debra Thomas said.
Roll to Walk was established by a quadriplegic, Keith-Ann Wagner and
her husband Chad, based on the Project Walk programs she learned
after her injury July 4, 1999.
“Their effort is to make it more affordable,” Tyler said, explaining
most health insurance programs do not cover spinal cord
“These things take time – this is not a quick fix,” he added. “The
medical system wants to cut you open and fix it, or take a pill and
In Austin, Tyler will be living with a long-time friend, MHS
graduate Colby Grimes, and has already applied to Austin Community
College for an on-line course to get back into education, with the
eventual aim of becoming a regular full-time student again next
He was a business management major, but his involvement with
physical rehabilitation has now prompted him to consider other
Tyler and Debra Thomas invite anyone who wants to know more about
Roll to Walk and Tyler’s situation to visit his website,
www.caringbridge.org/tylerpthomas , or e-mail them at
(him) or firstname.lastname@example.org (her).
“I’m really looking forward to being able to do the rehab all the
time,” Tyler said. “I enjoy just being around the people.”
“Our community appears to be small, but I know we have people who
might need to be aware of this,” Debra Thomas said. “Tyler was
insistent about looking into this.
“He is better off having involved himself in this rehabilitation,
without a doubt,” she added.
Courtesy Photo/Debra Thomas
Tyler Thomas and a therapist work to strengthen the muscles in
back and buttocks, enabling him to stand upright.
Courtesy Photo/Debra Thomas
Tyler Thomas visits with Roll to Walk founder