Macke awarded Jim Thorpe Courage Award

Courage is one way to describe Erik Macke and his journey to walk again.
Macke, 23, was in a motorcycle accident on July 15, 2015 that changed his life.
He was riding at night on unfamiliar backroad and his tire clipped a center median.
“I was going pretty fast. It was pretty bad,” Macke said.
Due to the accident, Macke had to have his left leg amputated from above knee, a T12 spinal fracture and a spinal cord injury.
Macke said his recovery “was a long one.”
Macke at first struggled with partial paralysis and was in a wheelchair for the first year.
He was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a week after the wreck before spending three weeks in the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center. Macke then did outpatient therapy until he got his prosthetic leg when he had to go back to Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center for another three weeks to be able to walk with his prosthetic.
“It was good. It was a long one, but it’s still getting better,” Macke said.
“When I leave the house I always have my prosthetic leg because I love it. I hated being in my wheel chair because I’m 6’1” so I’m used to looking at people in the face or being tall so it was weird getting used to being a wheelchair all the time out in public. The prosthetic is awesome for sure.”
Macke was recently awarded the Jim Thorpe Courage Award.
Winning the Courage Award means Macke was nominated by the staff to be the recipient out of all the patients they see.
“It was cool, it was a really neat deal,” he said. “It was humbling. It really made me feel good. They said some really cool things about the whole process so it was cool hearing it from someone else’s perspective.
“The therapists and everyone I worked with at Jim Thorpe are really awesome. They did great. You build a relationship with them when you’re living there and working with them all day.”
Macke will be introduced before the Oklahoma City Dodgers game on July 28 then will be attending a banquet dinner in September at Jim Thorpe Hall of Fame.
Macke is a graduate of Mustang High School who married his middle-through-high school sweetheart, Emily.
“I’m not the least bit surprised he won, but I’m very proud of him. Erik never made excuses throughout his recovery and still never does. I remember in between therapy sessions he was down at the gym working out (broken back, spinal cord injury and amputated leg just a week prior)… when most of the time they have to pull people out of their beds lol. He chooses to live life to the fullest and he still does more than the average person on any given day,” Emily wrote in a Facebook post announcing he won the award. “He goes up to Jim Thorpe and talks to patients going through similar situations and he is always encouraging.”
Through his accident, Macke said he knew he needed something to fill his time indoors so “Macke Leatherworks” was born.
Macke said he’s always liked to create things so he bought a starter kit and put a lot of time into learning the craft through books and videos.
“I learned as much as I could and it just started to take off,” Macke said.
From a single starter kit, he began investing in tools and leather.
“I’ve really got a passion for it. It’s awesome,” he said.
Macke has customers through his Facebook business page and Instagram, but also has products in Urban Farmhouse’s in-store boutique, Urban Threads.
He said it’s “going great” and he is usually three to four weeks out on orders because of the amount he gets.
When he’s working, Macke uses his wheelchair to make it easier on him to work, but it’s one of the few times he uses it, he said.
He added that before the accident, leatherworking was not part of the plan.
“I’ve always liked making things and being pretty creative, but I was a lineman before this and I always just thought I’d be an electric power lineman—that’s just what I’ve always wanted to do, but now I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, that’s for sure. It’s incredible,” Macke said.
To put in an order to Macke, visit his Facebook page, “Macke Leatherworks.”
Macke said he probably wouldn’t have been able to do as much as he has done with his recovery, start a business or win the Courage Award if it wasn’t for the support of his friends and family.
“That community was there for me—how much it helped me and kept me positive,” Macke said. “Plus, my wife (Emily) and getting to have my first newborn shortly after—it was a light during a dark time for sure.”
Emily and Macke have a daughter together and will soon be welcoming a son into the world.
“I would have been cool with another girl because it’s cool either way, as long as they’re healthy, but it’s nice getting a boy. I get to teach him a bunch of cool stuff,” Macke said.
Macke also hasn’t lost his love for motorcycles and continues to ride.

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