The Annual Jim Thorpe Inpatient Rehab Reunion is held every year to celebrate the success of their rehab patients.

Each year a courage award is given to the patient who has shown the most strength and perseverance.

That patient this year was David Ward.

Ward suffered a stroke back in May.

He starting rehab with Jim Thorpe at CCMH, and was there for about a month working with the speech, physical, and occupational therapists.

“When I got there I couldn’t walk or talk or nothing,” said Ward.

His wife Yvonne says when they had to find a rehab center for David, she knew where she wanted to go.

I knew that Jim Thorpe had a good reputation for therapy for getting people better,” said Yvonne. “When they asked me where I wanted to go, I said I wanted to go to Jim Thorpe in Lawton. Because I wanted him to have the best care.”

Andrea Marr is a speech language pathologist who worked with David. She says this reunion is great because it gives them the chance to catch up with former patients like David.

“Some people will leave in a wheel chair and they come back here and they’re using a walker, or a cane,” said Marr. “So it’s really nice to see how everybody is doing.”

David says it was awesome to get the courage award this year. He says it all comes down to will power.

“You just got to do it. You got to,” said Ward. “You got to get up and move. It would be easy to stay there in bed and do nothing. But that’s not me. So here we are. And here I am.”

Jennifer Ninman is a physical therapist at the rehab center. She says seeing her former patients continuing to progress after leaving rehab, is very gratifying.

“Makes you realize that your job is important, and that you are making a difference in their lives,” said Ninman. “You realize that they’re also making a difference in your life, because you realize what’s important in life and what really matters.”

Yvonne says the staff truly made a difference in David’s recovery.

“They were professional but they were also like family,” said Yvonne. “When you find people that can cut up and go on with you it makes it easier.”

“I’m glad to be alive, and now the rest is up to me,” said Ward.

The winner of the courage award is chosen by the Leadership Team from the rehab center.