A Hendersonville city employee returned to work Monday, nearly a year after being paralyzed in an ATV accident.
Larry Conley works for the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
Last year he was critically injured while riding an ATV on his property as he was getting ready for duck hunting season.
The ATV rolled on top of Conley, breaking his neck.
“When it started to roll, I jumped and hit the ground and by the time I started to get up, it hit me in the back of the neck,” Conley recalled.
He continued, “It hit me in the back of the neck, crushed my C5, broke my C4 and C6 and 7. I knew when it hit me that I had broken my neck.”
City employees worked the past year during weekends and after work modifying his home to allow Conley to move about his home on Cherokee Drive.
Monday, the former mechanic returned to the parks department in a new position, doing clerical work.
“I've always gone to work. I enjoy coming down here and being with the guys. My wife was glad for me to come back to work too,” Conley said.
According to parks and recreation director Dave LeMarbre, the city determined Conley was capable of returning to work despite being in a wheelchair and being unable to move below the waist.
Workers built a desk in a new office fitted for Conley's wheelchair and added a remote controlled door to allow him to enter and exit the building which was previously non-ADA accessible.
“We've never had a person come back in a wheelchair so we didn't know what to do, I'll be honest with you. It was a difficult situation,” LeMarbre said.
“We had to be careful that he was protected, he wasn't going to get hurt anymore than me or any of our employees could get hurt,” said LeMarbre.
The 20-year employee for the city will handle all clerical work with the department such as time-sheets and equipment acquisition.