Seth Alexander has been making an excellent impression at Sutherlands Building Materials in Nevada, where he works 25 hours a week as a cashier and has discovered a talent for meeting the public. "I've been working there for about a month and a half," he said Thursday, the day before joining his classmates here to prepare for the annual homecoming game.
"It gives me something to do other than going to school. I'd worked as a groundskeeper at Nevada Country Club before my accident and last summer I did stuff outside at the Schell-Osage Conservation Area, painting signs and driving around on a Polaris Ranger to spray weeds."
He was on his way to the NEVC Knights' basketball practice at 5:43 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2011, when his 1988 Mazda pickup skidded on a rain-slickened curve seven miles west of Schell City on M Highway and overturned. "I wasn't wearing my seatbelt and was partially ejected," he said.
"The truck came back and landed on top of my knees. It crushed them and they had to be amputated about a month later."
By all accounts, he has made a terrific recovery physically and psychologically, sometimes quoting New York Yankees Hall of Famer Babe Ruth (1895-1948), who said, "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."
Planning to become a physical therapist, Seth will attend Crowder College in Nevada for two years and then choose a university where he can secure his future.
He enjoys meeting new people but wishes some of them realized he is able to do just about anything he wants. "There were some things I had to adjust to after I got my prosthetics in Overland Park, but it comes almost as second nature now," he said.
"Most people are really nice and ask questions, but sometimes they don't know and ask if I can pick up something for them, then say, 'Oh, I can find somebody else.'
"It's a letdown in a way. Other than that, I like working with the public pretty well."
Seth's boss at Sutherlands, Courtney Black, said he "is a good employee who is real good with people.
"He has a lot of energy about him," Black said.
Seth's siblings are 10-year-old Braden and 13-year-old Ciara. His mom, Stephanie, works at home for Cigna Insurance in Fort Scott, Kan, and his step-father, Danny Mosher, farms near Schell City. His dad is James Alexander of Odessa, east of Independence.
He said he "likes hanging out with my friends and traveling," playing country and rock music on his acoustic and electric guitars and playing classical music on piano, for which he was trained by NEVC girls' basketball assistant coach Kelci Davis and her daughter Kelli.
"I want to go to Australia," said Seth, who attends Life Church in Nevada. "The people there have cool accents, that's for sure. It would definitely be quite the journey."