<strong>By Sarah Richardson<\/strong>\r\n\r\nWhite Sulphur Springs has a new officer in town. A new ADA Compliance Officer, that is.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m not here to write tickets and give people a hard time,\u201d jokes George 'Mack' McIntire. \u201cOne of the reasons I\u2019m really doing this is that the state of West Virginia is number one\u2014 we have the highest percentage per capita\u2014 of handicapped people.\u201d\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_50874" align="alignleft" width="560"]<img class=" wp-image-50874" src="https:\/\/mountainmessenger.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2020\/08\/McIntire-scaled.jpg" alt="" width="560" height="911" \/> George \u201cMack\u201d McIntire, White Sulphur Spring\u2019s new ADA Compliance Officer.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nAt the last White Sulphur Springs City Council meeting Mayor Bruce Bowling announced Mack\u2019s new position. \u201cWe were trying to get a grant to get an ADA accessible door here [at City Hall], and we got turned down. They said what we needed was an ADA Compliance Officer. And Mack said \u2018I\u2019ll do it, but I\u2019m not going to charge you.\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nHe emphasized that Mack was perfect for the job. \u201cHe notices that stuff, we don\u2019t notice it as much, and I thought it would be a great fit.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s great,\u201d said Mack, \u201cbecause the goal that White Sulphur is trying to accomplish right now is to be one of the most ADA compliant cities in America. Everything is going to be state-of-the-art accessible.\u201d\r\n\r\nMack became disabled after a freak accident in 2018, when he fell and broke his neck. He was instantly paralyzed from the neck down, despite only falling two feet. He was rushed to the Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC), where he credits their neurosurgeon with saving his life. He was then transferred to Richmond, VA where he spent four months in the Spinal Cord Unit.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy life became prayer, physical therapy, and vitamins,\u201d said Mack. \u201cIn March 2019, after a lot of research, I found out about a clinical trial at Ohio State University involving promising new drugs that may heal the body\u2019s central nervous system. I fought my way into the trials, and at age 65, I think I\u2019m the oldest participant. I\u2019m probably the only West Virginian, but I doubt I\u2019m the only veteran. \u2026 There are 24 people in the Phase 1 part of the trial. Then they start the part where they give some people the placebo and others get the drug, but I definitely got the drug. As soon as they get done with the initial trial I\u2019ll be able to go back and get more of the drug, because I was a volunteer.\u201d\r\n\r\nTechniques for treatment of spinal cord injuries have greatly improved in recent years, but they are usually permanent with little or no hope of improvement. However, Mack doesn\u2019t let that slow him down. After participating in the trial, his dexterity in his hands has vastly improved. \u201cI intend to be one of the first people to heal and walk again,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\n\u201cI stay busy by going to the park, practicing walking, riding around town, and taking the bus to Lewisburg,\u201d he added. And as an ADA officer, he will be on site for construction projects to ensure everything is accessible.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen they complete projects I\u2019ll ride around and make sure everything is up to snuff,\u201d he said.\u00a0 His knowledge of required doorway measurements, ramps, and other facilities such as restrooms will help make sure public structures are accessible for all.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen I see someone in a wheelchair when I\u2019m out and about, I always go over and talk to them,\u201d he said. \u201cA lot of them are just older or have arthritis or something like that, but they amount of people that I\u2019ve met is sizeable. There are some really awesome people that are hanging in there.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cI really want the community to know and be aware that West Virginia has more people like me than any other state per capita. And I want to thank everybody. When I was in the hospital in Richmond they would load about 20 of us up in a bus and take us to a mall and unload us in our chairs, give us a few bucks, and say they would come back in a few hours. The idea was just to get us to go in and out of doors, bathrooms, sit in lines, checkout, just to see how people treat you. Over there, it was 50\/50. Some people just acted like you weren\u2019t there, some were nice and occasionally would open up a door. But, in West Virginia, the people have been wonderful. Sometimes, they are almost too kind, and I have to tell them \u2018thanks, but I can get that myself.\u2019 I generally don\u2019t, I let them help, and people have just been very, very sweet.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe credits his wife, Alicia, for helping with his recovery and healing process. \u201cShe has been my wife, my caregiver, and my friend, and I wouldn\u2019t be anywhere alive if it wasn\u2019t for her.\u201d\r\n\r\nHis plans to regain the ability to walk are currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he will continue the clinical trial once regulations permit. Until then, he will continue helping White Sulphur through his new position.