Linda Vias has been a Castle Rock resident since 1998. Like many who eventually move here, she fell in love with the area when she experienced the unique beauty of the Town. â€œWe moved from Boulder to Parker, then to Castle Rock, because of the small town atmosphere, the great community events and all the open space andÂ trails,â€ Vias recalled.
One of the reasons itâ€™s not hard to miss Linda is because she has an energy and smile that lights up a room. A professional clown in another life, she entertained all over the country with her talents and even has pictures in full garb with First Lady Rosalynn Carter and some of the White House Staff.
Itâ€™s also very possible that you might have seen her at the local Target or Sprouts, during her weekly shopping trips or on Sunday at outside Front Range Christian Church; greeting people with a big smile and hug, with her service dog, Lyric, by her side.
The other reason you may recognize having seen her around Castle Rock, is because when she is not driving to and from work, she gets around quite independently in her chair. For over 25 years, Linda has seen life from a different perspective – riding around on four â€˜alternateâ€™ wheels.
During a trip to Connecticut, she woke up early and decided to start her day by putting on her running shoes. In the early morning hours it was still a little dark out, and the temperature was perfect for starting the day off with some exercise. However, because of the limited light, she did not notice the uncovered hole in the pavement before it was too late.
â€œI was traveling (for business) and the Lord got my attention big time â€“ I was a huge runner and I had an accident,â€ Vias paused, â€œI ended up in a manhole.â€ Shocked and embarrassed for not having seen the accident coming, she miraculously dragged her injured body back to her hotel room. From that moment on her life changed dramatically and life in a chair became something new.
â€œLet’s just say, I now get a lot of random phone calls to take people black Friday Shopping because I get great front row parking!â€ laughed Vias.
Humor aside, life for Vias didnâ€™t only change, it took a dramatic detour. â€œI fought hard and didnâ€™t want to believe it,â€ Vias said. â€œI thought, â€˜Iâ€™m an athlete.â€™â€ I was crushed. Hard adjustments had to be made, but eventually, Vias began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. â€œI realized I had a choice to make – I had to be willing to trust the Lord, and that He knew what He was doing with my life, or go at it on my own.”
So Vias got back into life and was blessed to give birth to two children, Hope and Christian â€œThey are the joy of my life. They are both amazing and such incredible kids! â€ Vias beamed. And because of her love of travel, it made sense to start a family travel business, Travel Haus, Inc., so she could use the knowledge she had gained from seeing so much of the world firsthand.
The athlete inside her also caused her to get involved volunteering for a program with her kids. â€œWe volunteered for the disabled ski program to help others with disablilities learn how to ski and snowboard.” remembers Vias. â€œUnfortunately in 2010 someone ran into meâ€¦when you ski, you accept that anything can happen.â€ The collision caused ruptured disks in her back and what was supposed to be an easy surgery, was not. Major complications happened, the biggest was that her speech was affected.
Vias was now faced with a new obstacle, losing her speech. â€œI remember saying words in my brain, but they never came outâ€¦it turned my life upside down, not to mention my familyâ€™s,â€ she said, â€œHow can you tell your children who have grown up with a mom in a wheelchair that now there is another detour, no speech?â€
After the frustration, hurt and confusion settled, Vias had her defining moment. Having a lot of new â€˜quiet timeâ€™ to reflect and observe gave her new meaning. â€œYes, it stinks, but I am thankful for new eyes to truly see things in a different way â€“ to hear things â€“ because when you donâ€™t have speech, you have lots of time to sit and observe,â€ Vias grinned.
And she gives all the credit to the man upstairs for getting her through all this and continuing to shower her life with new blessings. Recently,Â friends helpedÂ raise money and manpower to get part of her kitchen remodeled so it was more accessible for her height in the chair.Â â€œThey also built a new ramp from the backdoor into the garage so I donâ€™t have to go in the rain or hail or snow!â€ Vias grinned as she typed, “it is incredible and I’m eternally thankful to everyone.”
But Vias hopes she can put others at ease, so she can educate people about people with disabilities and make them feel less intimidated. “One of the biggest prayers is that I can always make everyone feel comfortable,” Vias continued, “The best part is like I’ve always told Christian and Hope….I try to do everything everyone else does, I just do it in a different way!”
Having found ways to do just about anything, her active lifestyle is impressive to say the least. Though, you might be lucky to catch her somewhere in Town using her humor, gigantic smile and pen to lighten the mood.
â€œFunny story (she typed), I was visiting my Mom one weekend
long ago and she took me shopping for an event I was going to. So I get this nice dress and needed shoes to go with it. The store salesman freaks out and says, “Uh, look you are in a wheelchair, why in the world would you need shoes?â€ Vias laughed, â€œSo I happily said, â€œNo shirt. No shoes. No service.â€
Vias can’t help it. She remains a true ‘clown’ at heart.
409 South Wilcox St. Suite C-2
Castle Rock, CO 80104