Comeback Story Helps Others Heal

Nicholas Godfrey lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. Now, he is helping others in the amputee community by sharing his story.
Nicholas Godfrey lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. Now, he is helping others in the amputee community by sharing his story.

Service1Nicholas Godfrey, the owner of a pool and spa company in Lexington, Ky., prides his business on the ability to provide a worry-free environment for his customers. It helps that he’s had some experience with uncertainty and loss in his own life.

When I spoke with Godfrey, he was driving between stops on his route and dealing with debris from the inland effects of Hurricane Laura. Like many, he works long hours, and on top of his work he volunteers through a community network as a peer counselor. The people that Godfrey counsels come from different backgrounds, but each has a story that is all too familiar to him — they have woken up in the hospital either having lost, or knowing they’re going to lose, one or more of their limbs.

As a man who believes everything happens for a reason, Godfrey discusses a bit about the events that led him to both peer counseling as well as this industry. He grew up around pools, loved the water and always thought of himself as a fixer. The pool industry seemed like it might be a good fit, and — although in the midst of a custody battle for his kids — things felt like they were moving in the right direction when Godfrey got a job at Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes, where he learned water care and got his CPO, but soon found his true calling in equipment repair. After some training, he found himself working a job he loved and appreciating the path his life was headed in. But in September of 2012, things took a turn when he ended up in a life-threatening motorcycle crash.

“I broke my foot off, almost completely,” he recounts. “They put it back on, and it was crazy — I was still able to feel it. I could wiggle my toes and everything, but they let me know it would never be right again.”

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It’s this particular moment that Godfrey reflects on when he speaks with others in similar situations. With each person he counsels, he goes back through the initial pain and shock, the temporary hope and immediate denial, all to assure a stranger that they will come out stronger. And even though one world feels like it’s ending, another is starting. For Godfrey, this became apparent in a way that he hadn’t anticipated: While confronted in the hospital with the prospect of his impending amputation, he received other life-altering news that was incredible yet difficult to hear.

“I found out I got full custody of my kids. And while that was great news, it put me in a pretty hard spot,” he says, “because suddenly I wasn’t working with two kids.”

Godfrey moved back to Kentucky to put his life back together, starting with rehab for an amputated limb. “At that point I was really concerned about finding a job and getting back to work. I knew that I needed to find something, but I was worried that being a single dad and having a new amputation, people wouldn’t give me a chance.”

He decided to gamble on himself and launch his own company, Bluegrass Pool and Spa. That turned out to be a turning point in Godfrey’s life, as the company has provided the financial resources and meaning he desperately needed.

When Godfrey currently speaks with members of the amputee community, many feel as though they’ve reached an end to their journey. Godfrey is there to remind them this is part of a beginning. He speaks to them as a friend, but he stands there as living proof that even during the moments when life feels as though it’s at a standstill, it’s always moving forward.

“For myself, getting back into the pool and spa field has been so uplifting and empowering. If there are people going through something similar to what I went through, I think it would be worth knowing how accepting this industry is.”

While Godfrey counsels people from all backgrounds, and doesn’t personally know any other amputees in the pool and spa community, he says starting a group would be great. “I would love to help give pool and spa people who are disabled some kind of outlet,” he says. “I’ve learned firsthand that can be a real help.”

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