"You can't live life in fear of what might happen. You have to get out and enjoy the gift you've been given," stated Tom McTevia.
Tom McTevia, 42, a Navy veteran, father of one son and former Orofino Idaho police officer was involved in a life changing ATV accident in 2004. The accident fractured his spine and ended his police career by leaving him paralyzed in his legs and only having partial use of his arms and hands. The accident did not paralyze his spirit though as he proved over the next 11 years of his life. He had been very active before the accident serving four years as a steelworker in the Navy Seabees before becoming a police officer as well as volunteering with the Clearwater Police Department.
He moved to Coeur d'Alene in 2006 and volunteered in the police department's records department there as well as continuing to camp, kayak, hunt, skydive, UTV and handcycle. He participated in the 2009 National Veteran's Wheelchair Games in Spokane WA and remained competitive in handcycle racing. This past year he convinced the city to make a 1,500 foot section of the Tubbs Hill Trail wheelchair accessable by lowering the grade on it. He had been passionately working on the Coeur d'Alene Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee to open up a part of the trail so that more people could enjoy the freedom and the view.
"I don't like the word "handicap." I don't like the word "disability." Disability is a state of mind, or a broken down vehicle on the side of the road. I'm slightly inconvenienced," stated Tom McTevia.
On April 19 2015, at about noon, Tom and his close friend Tina Hoisington, 45, of Lewiston Idaho, slid off the trail while setting up for a photo in Bonner County, just east of Farragut State Park. The 2013 Polaris UTV plunged down a cliff and both of them died at the scene. Neither one of them was wearing a helmet and reports from those that were at the scene state that one of them fell 500 feet down the cliffside while the other fell almost 1,100 feet down. Others in the group added that they were setting up for a photograph overlooking the 2,000 cliff and they just got too close to the edge with the UTV.
People immediately made their way down the cliffside to render aid but they stated that both of them had not survived the fall. A helicopter was used to airlift the two from the cliffside later. It was not surprising that Tina was with Tom on that trip since she had gone on many trips with Tom in the past. Her co workers at the Lewis Clark Credit Union where she had worked as a loan officer for 15 years are stunned that she is gone so soon and will miss her very much.
The service for Tina will be held on April 27th at 11 am at the Cross Point Alliance Church in Lewiston.
The Celebration of Life for Tom will be held at 2:30 pm on May 2nd and will be followed by a potluck. People have been asked to bring stories and memories of Tom.