EXCLUSIVE: Paralyzed Man Inspires Others to Find Jobs - Eric Alvarez
Updated: Wednesday, February 19 2014, 10:30 PM CST
Stream WZTV Fox 17 Newscasts LIVE starting with Fox 17 This Morning at 5am and News at 9pm.
SPRING HILL, Tenn.-- Jose Ortega is showing it's never too late to re-invent yourself for the better.
For most of Ortega’s life, soccer was everything.
"I was about 4 years old when my uncle registered me to play soccer,” Ortega said.
To a young Ortega, soccer was more than a game. It was the way to a better life.
"I had scouts ready to go look at me and hopefully get a scholarship,” Ortega said.
But at just 20 years old, Ortega put on his cleats for the last time the day his dreams vanished in an instant.
A bullet from a mugger's gun that tore into his back, taking with it, a promising future.
"[He] shot me in my spinal cord,” Ortega said.
Ortega has been in a wheelchair ever since. But from his worst moment, Ortega realized he had another talent.
"I always had that inspiration of helping people in whatever way I can,” Ortega said.
Today he helps people find jobs at Goodwill Career Solutions.
Ortega hopes his story will show others that because life doesn't go the way you plan, doesn't mean you have to give up.
"Thankfully, God has given me the strength to move on and I can say I'm really blessed,” Ortega said. “Everything happens for a reason. It's hard, yes, it's complicated yes, but if you have the effort and you want to move on, you can.”
Ortega and other employees like him helped more than 5,600 people find work in 2013, according to a Goodwill spokesperson.
Follow us on Twitter @wztv_fox17 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates.