That guy…the smart, funny, tough, talented one who works hard and plays harder. He tirelessly serves his country, his many friends, strangers in need, and most of all his family. He lives every day with amazing love, passion, and dedication to those around him. That guy is Mike Bates.

On November 25, 2011, Mike was dealt his greatest challenge…while motorcycling with his son Nick, Mike suffered a terrible accident which caused a debilitating spinal cord injury. This level of injury is often fatal and multiple times in the hours and days following, the medical professionals didn’t know if Mike would survive, much less do so without severe brain damage…but they also didn’t know Mike.

He survived with all his mental capabilities intact. Due to the efforts of some great docs and nurses, the support of his friends and family, but mostly due to his own toughness and persistence, Mike has made amazing progress in his physical recovery. He started by re-learning to breathe, use a computer, and even walk short distances with assistance. Now he is back to camping and traveling. Driving himself is the next hurdle. As always, Mike has faced this challenge with determination, bravery, and his ever present smile.