Mortimer has message for studentsBob Mortimer, a motivational speaker who lost both of his legs and his left arm, talked to more than 75 students Monday at Jamestown College about how he came to accept Jesus Christ as his savior and what the Lord could do for them.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Bob Mortimer, a motivational speaker who lost both of his legs and his left arm, talked to more than 75 students Monday at Jamestown College about how he came to accept Jesus Christ as his savior and what the Lord could do for them.
Mortimer, who lives near Tacoma, Wash., used a blend a humor and personal experience to educate and inspire the college students during his presentation at the Nafus Center.
“Bob isn’t my real name, it’s just a nickname they gave me at the swimming pool,” Mortimer joked to the students.
He pulled out a harmonica and played a song for the students he wrote called “The One Arm Blues.” The jokes in the song included one about winning a lifetime supply of Nike shoes.
Mortimer put on a baseball cap with the word “HANDY” stitched on it because, “I figured you’re going to leave this room and tell people you saw a man with a handicap tonight,” he said.
Mortimer called his lack of limbs an adjustment, not a handicap.
“A handicap can be something as simple as an attitude. A handicap can be something as simple as low self-esteem,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer cited himself as an example as accepting his lot in life and being able to joke about it.
“Accept things that make you different from everybody else,” he said.
Mortimer said young ladies need to accept their bodies and everybody needs to strive to exercise, because God wants them to be active and healthy.
Mortimer and his family did some exercising of their own when they took a four-month bike trek across the country in 2008. The ride was called Hope and Courage Across America. It started in Gig Harbor, Wash., on May 17 and ended at the Statue of Liberty on Sept. 12.
Mortimer took the journey on a handcycle, a three-wheel contraption de-signed for a person with no legs but two arms. He told the crowd he figured he could do it half as a good as a person with two arms.
Mortimer’s father, an alcoholic with an addiction to prescription medications, died when he was 16.
He said he dropped out of high school and continued down the same route his father had taken.
When Mortimer was 21, he said, he and his brother were at a party 50 miles from their home. His brother took the back roads to avoid police attention, struck a power line pole and slid down a hill.
The pair walked away from the accident and up the hill when Mortimer put his hands on what he thought was a fence. It turned out it was a downed power line and 12,500 volts of electricity exploded though Mortimer’s grounded knees and badly burned his body.
He woke up in a hospital in Seattle, and on the first day he signed a form that gave the doctor permission to amputate his left arm. A few weeks later it was one leg, and a few months later it was the other.
Mortimer said his destructive lifestyle continued for another four years after leaving the hospital.
“That road never spirals up, that road will only truly stumble down,” he said.
He said he went to a church with a good friend, accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and married that same good friend six months later.
“What makes me whole has never been in my shoes, it’s been in my heart,” Mortimer said. “I just allowed Jesus Christ to be where he belonged anyway.”
Mortimer said the students should allow Jesus Christ in their hearts.
“I know that if each and every one of you in here tonight would make a commitment to follow Jesus, he would lead you on any adventure bigger than anything in your mind,” he said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org