Despite living with musculoskeletal injuries (new window) since childhood, Greg continued to be physically active. “When I wasn’t flying helicopters or airplanes or jets, I was hang gliding, skydiving, scuba diving, mountain climbing, running, swimming – you name it.”
This changed a few years ago. After an aircraft accident, Greg sustained spinal cord injuries and now faces degenerative disc (new window) issues. The recurring damage over the years led him to develop osteoarthritis (new window). Due to limited mobility, he uses a power wheelchair for transportation and a walker at home.
“It’s a very debilitating thing,” he says. “I needed to find another way to stimulate my brain and body as much as possible, get through the day and find a way to be happy again.”
Greg started volunteering at the Victoria Disability Resource Centre (new window). It was there that he met Wendy, Career Facilitator for the Working Together Program at the Neil Squire Society. The Working Together Program helps people with disabilities develop the skills they need to achieve their employment goals.
Greg at the Oak Bay Botanicals booth at the Oak Bay Night Market
“It worked out to my benefit that [Wendy] was a great facilitator,” says Greg. “The program was perfect for me to learn how to fit back into society in a way that would benefit me and the people I work with and communicate with.”
With the help of a wage subsidy through Working Together, Greg secured a position as Marketing and Promotions Manager at Oak Bay Botanicals (new window). The company sells essential oils, natural products, skin treatments, and similar items online and at their storefront. Greg registers products online through the government and ensures compliance with regulatory bodies. He also manages their website and social media platforms.
“I’m really happy with what I’m doing,” he says. “The support from the Neil Squire Society made me feel a little more confident about moving forward. Learning new things is really good. It stimulates my brain. It’s given me motivation and hope and should keep me going for the rest of my life.”
Greg continues to volunteer at the Victoria Disability Resource Centre, working with the Parking Permit program and information referral service. He also helps out with tasks around the office and fills in for staff when needed. “I’m really happy to help. [The Centre] helps people feel safe, secure, and learn a few things about what they need, even if it’s just guidance on where to go and what to do.”
“I appreciate the Neil Squire Society’s program and thank them very much for what they’ve done so far,” says Greg. “It’s an amazing resource and important for a lot of people. It’s making a big impact and it helps the community, because when you’re helping somebody who’s reintegrating back into the community, it gives a lot back as well.”