Surfside Beach Volunteer firefighter receives life-changing chair

Surfside Beach Firefighters raised money for a power chair that allows Roy Luther to stand up. Luther has cerebral palsy and spends lots of time volunteering at the department. (Taggart Houck/WPDE) 

Roy Luther has a smile that lights up any room.

"It's heart is full right now," said an emotional Luther Saturday afternoon at the Surfside Beach Fire Department.

Luther has cerebral palsy and uses an electric powered chair to get around.

He spends most of his time there helping out, where he washes trucks, among other things.

Those chores started getting harder when the seating in his chair started to wear. He's had it for more than 5 years.

He needed to get a new one, but they're not cheap.

He told Chief Kevin Otte and other peers at the department about a chair he saw on the internet that would allow him to stand.

"It was kinda passed around the station a little bit, 'hey, you know, Roy could get into a chair like this,'" he said.

So they and other area departments started a GoFundMe page. They purchased the chair and surprised Luther Thursday. Now, he's achieved his dream of standing.

"To be able to give people a hug to have that interaction and able to shake their hand and stand with them and talk with's a wonderful thing," said Luther.

The chair uses hydraulics to move up and down, and uses knee locks to keep his legs lock in place. In addition to the stand position, the chair lets him rotate, lay down and lean. He says it's changed his life.

"The other night, my mom needed light bulbs changed in our kitchen and I was able to stand up, lean forward and take the bulbs out," he said.

Chief Otte said nobody deserves it more than Luther. He joked about increasing volunteer hours.

"He's gonna be put on that schedule a little bit more to do a little more cleaning because. like I said, he could reach some points that some other people might not be able to now!"

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