A Success Story – Robert Brandlen

In 1981, Robert Brandlen was an active teenager and a high school junior who loved the outdoors, hunting, and fishing. He aspired to one day become a Volunteer Firefighter in his community in Garrett County. Robert began making connections at the local fire department to work toward this goal. He developed close friendships with other young men who were firefighters and hoped to join them to assist community members in times of need. In March of 1981, Robert Brandlen suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. His friends from the fire department were first responders to the scene of the accident. He was 17 years old.

Following the accident, Robert spent the following year recovering and working to become stronger. He was determined to pursue his passions in life and he never gave up. Robert received encouragement and assistance from his parents, as well as good medical care at his local hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Because of his determination, Robert was able to return home and lived with his parents. He worked hard and adjusted to his new life in a wheelchair. He pursued his love for the outdoors and became an outdoor sportsman. Despite adversity, he was able to hunt, fish, and boat alongside his father and family members. His ability to overcome obstacles motivated others. Robert was an inspiration to his community and he was featured in several local newspaper articles.

Three years ago, Robert suffered a heart attack that forced him to enter a nursing facility for treatment and strengthening. In 2016, his mother passed away. Robert had always relied heavily on his mother for care and support and now had to adjust to his change of medical condition, as well as the loss of a beloved family member. Robert has been through challenges before and his fighting spirit continues to shine as he deals with his current situation. Robert is grateful for friends and family who continue to provide support. Robert decided to switch Support Planning Agencies and chose SCI. He is working closely with Supports Planner, Shonna Livengood, and plans to use the Community Options Waiver to return home with services in place to keep him safe. Robert and his Supports Planner reviewed his plan of service and made changes to meet his preferences. He had his SP contact personal care agencies and ask questions before he made a decision. They have also met with nursing home staff and therapists to evaluate what equipment he will need to be successful living at home. SP has discussed community resources Robert can use to help with his household expenses. Robert has assisted SP with creating a task schedule so his PCA can make sure his services are person centered. Robert Brandlen will continue to live his life to the fullest and continues to be an inspiration to the community in which he lives.