Mays Mission History….
History of Mays Mission for the Handicapped
Ewing W. Mays was a WWII veteran. While in Sicily, the jeep in which he was riding was hit by a German mortar. Mays was thrown from his vehicle. He awoke to find that both his legs were missing. In his opinion, life was over and no longer worth living. He had been scouted by the old Cleveland Browns to play pro football – this would never come to pass.
While Mays lay in a VA hospital in Temple, TX an Army chaplain came to visit. Mays wanted to die. The chaplain told him that maybe God did not want him to die, maybe he had other plans. He urged him to read the testament given to him by the Gideons before he went overseas. Mays began to read. He came upon Matthew 11: 28-29, which says “take my yoke upon you and learn of me… for my yoke is easy and my burden is light…” Mays knew that the Lord has a purpose and turned his life over to Him.
After numerous surgeries and much rehabilitation, Mays learned to walk on artificial limbs. Something he realized, though, is the fact that no one with a similar disability came to visit him while he laid in the hospital.
Mays decided to tour the country, visiting VA and rehabilitation hospitals. He encouraged his fellow GI’s to keep hope alive and never give up. Many times he would pick up a fellow amputee and carry him around the hospital ward and then reveal that all had been done on two artificial limbs. They were flabbergasted! Mays truly brought hope and inspiration to the lives he touched.
Upon hearing of Mays’ visits to these hospitals, then President Harry S. Truman commissioned him to visit wounded GI’s in both Korea and Japan. He became known as the “Pied Piper.”
Mays became involved with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). He was voted to be National Commander of the DAV in 1950, an honor of which he was so very proud.
Ewing W. Mays needed assistance in his efforts to tour the country. He solicited donations through direct mail services. The idea came to him to hire people with disabilities to do the printing, labeling, inserting and mailing, and data processing thus creating jobs for them. In 1972 he incorporated Mays Mission for the Handicapped, Inc. Today, Mays Mission is a charitable 501 (c) (3) organization. In 1982, we moved to our current facility at 604 Colonial Drive in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
Mays had many ideas and plans. His ultimate goal was to build a facility that would house trainees for the OJT program. Although the OJT program continues, the facilities he dreamed of have yet to be built. The expense is tremendous. We receive no government funding and, therefore, rely on charitable contribution from our faithful supporters.
Ewing W. Mays passed away in October of 1994. He is truly missed. His vision and work continue and his spirit prevails. Under the direction of his daughter Sherry, Mays Mission continues to provide assistance to people with disabilities in the form of scholarships, camperships, OJT, visitation, referral services and our volunteer caregivers program.
EW Mays, 1969
It’s ability, not disability, that counts!