Kevin Natale Interview

  • June 19, 2012
  • #7862

At the age of 14, tragedy hit Kevin Natale: a deranged neighbor shot Kevin, leaving him a quadriplegic. Joni Eareckson Tada interviews Kevin about his shocking story and testimony. 

Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and I want you to meet our new intern here at “Joni and Friends.”

I love it, love it, love it, whenever I have a chance to connect with another quadriplegic, spinal cord injured like myself. And today I am super excited because in the studio is our brand new intern here at the Joni and Friend International Disability Center, Kevin Natale. Kevin, welcome to the microphone.

Kevin: Thank you so much.

Joni: I’m so glad your wheelchair is not any bigger. It would be hard to fit you in here otherwise.

Kevin: I know.

Joni: Tell us quickly how it is that you landed in this wheelchair.

Kevin: Well, it was about 18 years ago, approximately nine days after my 14th birthday and I was living in Ventura and getting ready for basketball practice and there was a knock at my door and my friend who was with me went to answer it. It was my neighbor from across the street who came in to the house and had a 9 mm handgun on him and chased me through my house and shot me.

Joni: Was he mentally deranged?

Kevin: He dealt with some mental deficiencies: depression, schizophrenia ... things of that nature. What had sparked it was an argument between him and my stepdad at the time, where they had gotten into an altercation and he just let it fester in himself and …

Joni: … So he chased you through the house and shoots you …

Kevin: …Chased me through the house, shot at my twice. The second time it hit my shoulder, hitting my spinal cord and the next thing I knew I was just lying in my kitchen and couldn’t move. My mom and sister walked in about 10 minutes later, and found me there and called 911. I’ve changed from that point on.

Joni: I’m sure it did! I’m looking at you and thinking that you are injured at pretty much the same level I am. You are a quadriplegic like me and no doubt that rushed you off to the hospital and here you are 18 years later, but you have a smile on your face! Now tell me about that.

Kevin: Well, obviously in the beginning it was a struggle to figure out why something like this would happen. I was very passionate about sports at the time, always have been and still am today. I would question why a loving God would take something that I loved so much away from me just when I was getting started into high school athletics and things of that nature. I just didn’t understand why that would happen, but I’m just extremely blessed with an amazing family. That foundation that was started when I was at a young age: being raised in a Christian home was just our rock and foundation and we understood that things happen for a reason.

Joni: Is there a particular scripture that you lean on through the toughest of times?

Kevin: II Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” I mean that one just says it all right there, you know.

Joni: I know that you are recent graduate of Biola University in Organizational Leadership and we are so thrilled that you are going to be interning with us here at the Joni and Friends International Disability Center. I want to hear more about what brought you here to the International Disability Center and your interest in helping people with disabilities. Kevin, I want you to come back next time and tell us more about your special interest in helping people with disabilities and what brings you here; okay?

Kevin: Absolutely! I’d love to be back.

Joni: Great!

© Joni and Friends


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