Music Lover Stays Upbeat Despite Disability, Accident

February 24, 1991|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff writer

PLEASANT VALLEY — He plays cornet in six area bands, is treasurer of three county organizations and serves as Sunday School superintendent of St. Matthew's United Church of Christ.

However, a recent accident in Florida broke his hip, totaled his van and demolished his automated wheelchair,leaving the 54-year-old Union Bridge resident -- who suffers from cerebral palsy -- less independent than he'd like to be.

"I've always managed to handle myself, as long as I have the equipment necessary," said Carl Myers. "I have to have the van with an electric chairlift to get around and live as normal a life as possible.I can push myself in a chair, but you don't get very far, very fast."

Myers, who's been at the Westminster Nursing and Convalescent Center since the accident, does not expect to come home for another sixweeks, since his cerebral palsy slows healing.

Doctors have told him he cannot put weight on his leg for physical therapy until then.

"I hope to be out the first of April, but I'm not sure," he said. "I had been hoping to be out the first of March."

His birthday, celebrated Feb. 9 at the center, was spent playing a cornet solo surrounded by a few friends.

"The doctor told my mother I wouldn't live to see my seventh birthday, so every one I have, I consider one to beproud of."

Practicing daily on his cornet is something he misses since the accident, Myers said.

"I've only had the instrument to my lips a few times since then," he said.

An avid music lover, Myers plays with the Alesia, William F. Myers, Ellis Green, Misfits and Lyric bands and occasionally sits in with the Westminster Municipal Band.

He also used to sing with the St. Matthew's church choir and arrange the annual gospel concert during Lent.

"He likes music, that's what he lives for," said Francis Staley, director of the Alesia Band.

A trumpet teacher for many years, Myers has inspired several young musicians, including a middle-school student who studied at Joliet (Ill.) College for a two-week summer course.

"I'd teach beginning students, and they'd get so advanced I'd have to send them to somebody else," Myers said. "I've taught quite a few, but he's gone thefurthest."

Another student, 25-year-old Benjamin Messinger, decided to study music education through Myers' influence.

Myers' career as bookkeeper often leads to serving as treasurer in organizations he joins.

Myers was financial adviser for St. Matthew's and is currently treasurer of Alesia Band, Pleasant Valley Homemakers and Pleasant Valley Cemetery Association.

In recognition of his contributions to the community and church, members of St. Matthew's hope to raise about $2,000 toward his medical bills and a new van.

The church is sponsoring a dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Pleasant Valley FireHall for the 41-year member who spent his teen years living next to the church.

"We just want to surround Carl with people who care," said Charles Stanfield, pastor of St. Matthew's. "Just fill the nightwith people so he can see how many folks are behind him."

The Union Bridge Lions Club is hoping to replace Myers' wheelchair from proceeds of a musical evening they're planning April 20 at Francis Scott Key High.

"We don't intend to raise the money through (ticket prices)," said Stanley W. Holcombe, past president. "Organizations and businesses around the county will hopefully donate money, and we'll print their ads in the program."

For now, Myers -- who lives alone since his second wife, Evelyn, died of cancer in 1981 and his mother died of congestive heart failure in June -- is looking to the future.

"I'm single (now) and still looking," he jokes. "I need the help.

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