Thunderbirds graced with the presence of the 'World's greatest blind, double amputee potter' Mr. Bill Wedekind

(Casper, Wyo.) - Thunderbirds' students, staff and Veterans gathered today in the Student Union T-Bird nest to honor Veterans today and listen to the 'world's greatest blind, double amputee potter' Bill Wedekind. ​ Casper College President, Darren Divine took the podium and spoke to the crowd of nearly seventy people, "It is my absolute pleasure and honor to host these Veterans and welcome them to Casper College." ​ Then, members of the Casper College Veterans Club took the podium and read the crowd some Veterans poetry, selected by Casper College English Professor Patrick Amelotte. Lisa Goss, Veteran and Hathaway Scholarship Coordinator at Casper College took the mic and commented, "The CC Veterans Club continues to make great strides with Veterans coming to our campus!" Goss then welcomed the feature speaker, Mr. Bill Wedekind a Marine Veteran who lost both eyes, one ear and two hands while serving in 1968. "The accident occurred two weeks before my nineteenth birthday, happy birthday to me," Wedekind joked. As he spoke to the crowd about his life before and after the accident, he kept up his brilliant sense of humor and showcased his pottery talents that he learned from his grandmother soon after the accident. "After the accident I asked myself, why me? I asked that daunting question, and you don't want an answer for it. From there on I learned not to live in self-pity, nobody wants to be around that, you make yourself and everyone around you miserable. I learned a better way to do things, and made the best out of what I had left." ​ He continued and told the crowd that in 1969 he was released from medical care after numerous surgeries and he was left to find a career. His grandmother, an accomplished potter, set him up on a spinning wheel. "I was inspired by my grandmother, she showed me and coached me as I worked at it. I tried it, and it was a success! And it was fun!" ​ "I am the only blind, double amputee potter in the world, well I have never seen another one, " joked Wedekind. He continued to keep the crowd roaring with laughter with his light-hearted humor and down to earth attitude. He reported that he has retired from selling pottery but he still enjoys trying new projects, "I like throwing it big, it is a new challenge to me." Along with his pottery, Wedekind also travels around the US from his home in Texas, speaking to colleges, elementary schools and other places. He detailed four key points that he lives by each day: 1. If you don't mind it doesn't matter. 2. You control the problem, the problem does not control you. 3. Be able to think outside the box. 4. Be persistent and flexible. "Some people think I'm special, I think they are full of it," the words of Wedekind. He continued to answer the crowds questions, told a young eight year about how he lost his hand, and surprised the shy boy with a kind hug. "I get the greatest joy out of life from starting something new, and conquering it. Overcoming new and different things as well as helping others through their struggles." "The best thing I can provide to others is that you have to stay on the positive side of things. It is the way you think and you have to think positive." ​ #oilcity