Bill Toombs, a quadriplegic since suffering a nasty fall July 28, 2013, has been presented the Greenwood Sertoma Club’s Service to Mankind Award.
Toombs, who has undergone extensive rehabilitation, can move his arms and use his hands a little. He remains upbeat and continues his exemplary community service. His real passion is working with youths and helping them to develop godly character and become the best they can be.
He started volunteering as a pastoral counselor at Perry Meridian High School in 1990 and began doing the same at Southport about 15 years later. Toombs returned to Perry Meridian in November before taking several months off. He will be back on the job in March.
Toombs, who retired as pastor of Indianapolis Christian Fellowship in October, said he is glad to be counseling again. He also enjoys encouraging others who come to his home when he’s unable to get out. The church is raising money to purchase him a handicap-accessible vehicle so he can keep appointments.
Best described as ambitious, tireless, positive, radiant and outgoing, Toombs is known for taking advantage of nice weather to cruise around his neighborhood in his electric wheelchair, which sports two orange flags and is capable of doing 5 mph. “It’s nice to get out and meet people,” he said in an earlier interview.
And if his fall 19 months ago wasn’t enough to knock the wind out of him, his wife, Diane, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of uterine cancer two months after he fell. She has since completed chemotherapy and radiation, and her cancer is in remission.
The couple have five children and five grandchildren.
In reflecting on how he copes with his paralysis, Toombs said: “In life so many people measure what they have from a physical standpoint. But what is really important are the relationships you have and the prayers that you know are being offered on your behalf. My dad lost an eye and a finger, and I never heard him complain about it. He always maintained his faith. I use his attitude as my encouragement.”
Since his accident the couple have moved to Greenwood, where their home has been modified, including the installation of an elevator, to accommodate Toombs’ wheelchair.
“The doctors don’t know if I will ever walk again. I keep telling myself to walk all the time but nothing happens. Hopefully, I will someday.”