Have you ever met someone whose life story instantly touches you in a way that just makes you feel better for knowing them? I had the privilege of meeting Dwight Johnson, owner of Soule Innovations LLC, his wife and two daughters recently at an industry event. What makes them all so special? It begins with Dwight, his story overcoming injury and his perseverance to make a difference in others’ lives is moving. His wife is incredibly supportive, both during the medical care Dwight required when he was hurt on the job, TWICE, and after helping him start up a business. Dwight’s two daughters are now part of his company’s market strategy and growth. And guess who gets to benefit…returning veteran amputees.
Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!
What could have transpired after losing both of his legs was not the pathway chosen by Dwight. Instead of disability, Dwight not only is quite able, he is a shining example of overcoming adversity while giving back to the community.
Here is Dwight’s story in his own words:
I grew up in the glass business and ended up a consultant for high rises towers around the world.
Seven years ago while in Hong Kong I contracted a staff infection. My left leg was infected and I got a staph infection. By the time I flew home my left leg was dead.
I had to go through the process of dealing with an amputation. How would I be able to do my usual job? I realized I had to rehab as quick as possible for my benefit and for the benefit of my wife and 7 children. After just 3 months, I was back to work inspecting glass walls from outside the buildings, sometimes hanging 70-80 stories in the air. I was able to fly from Newport Beach to New York every week.
After 3 years of being handicapped, I never thought I would experience losing a limb again until I was injured in a construction accident and ended up losing my right leg. As I lay in the hospital, I wanted to end my life. I asked the nurse to leave the red pain button on full high. I then thought about my great wife and family and knew I needed to push on to be where I was and even better.
I ended up doing my own rehab which required being in the gym 5 days a week.
Once I had received both of my prosthetics, we would go to the big mall and try and walk. Everyone was staring at me and my fake legs.
I was pretty artsy in High School so when I got home, I asked my wife to go get me a pair of tennis shoes and some acrylic paints. I was going to create the wildest pair of shoes so people would stare at my shoes and not my fake legs. It took off from there… I’ve created shoes for some well-known entertainers as well as doctors and lawyers, teachers etc. Thus began “Soule Innovations” my shoe company.
Soule Innovations donates shoes to the injured war veterans. My wife and I meet with the injured veteran and find out their shoe size and favorite colors then 4-5 weeks later we hand deliver the new shoes to the veteran, male or female.
I still deal with my leg loss daily. But instead of feeling sorry for myself or the circumstances that led me here, I began working with multiple organizations involved in workers’ comp and being a voice for the Injured Worker.
This isn’t the end for Dwight, this new chapter in his life is just getting started. Dwight is leveraging his time and talent to start a flourishing business, giving back by helping veterans, all the while reminding us that there is a very real human side to dealing with injury, recovery and return to work. Dwight was this year’s recipient of the “People’s Choice Award” at the Comp Laude Event & Awards.
I love my pair of Soule shoes, Dwight used the colors from this blog for my very own unique pair of Soule pumps. Walking with Soule makes me smile all day long thinking about Dwight, his story, his spirit and the many people he has touched. You can see some of his creations by visiting Soule Innovations Facebook or Instagram accounts.
Soule Innovations is always in need of shoe donations to help wounded warriors, please get in touch with Dwight if you can help. NIKE, I hope you are reading this!
You can always order your own custom pair of “Soule Shoes,” you’ll be glad you did.
Contact information: Dwight Johnson, Soule Innovations, 718 Giffin Ave, #235, Enumclaw, WA 98022, 949-610-9355 phone, firstname.lastname@example.org