In 1994, Duane Bishop had a life-changing event that magnified his focus on helping those with disabilities.
Duane, 61, woke up that Sunday morning with a splitting headache and vision trouble, and he went downhill fast. An ambulance trip to the ER and a day full of tests but void of answers was followed by a sleepless night for his worried wife, Que. Luckily the next morning their family doctor figured out what was wrong – Duane had had a stroke. He was only 43.
“I had to learn to walk again and talk again,” says Duane, “and I realized that I really needed to help people — because I’ve been there. I’ve laid on the floor and known what it’s like to not be able to move.”
Today Duane is the owner of Nationwide Lifts of Washington, a business based in Gig Harbor, Wash., with a focus that’s close to his heart.
“We work with disabled and elderly people, and we do lots of work for veterans,” he says. The latter group is important to Duane in part because he is a veteran, having served in the Army during the Vietnam War. In fact he met and married Que while he was serving in Vietnam. He was just 21 but head over heels in love, he says – and still is.
“She’s really the reason I’m halfway successful,” Duane says of his wife of 40 years. “She is the power that pushes me.”
Together they have three children – two of whom work with Duane — and five grandchildren.
“I’m so blessed and overjoyed,” Duane says of his life, and his life’s work.