Marine veteran Andrew Paxson reaches for new goals in collision repair training

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HOUSTON, TX - Andrew Paxson is one of the top students on the Houston campus of Universal Technical Institute.

"I graduated the auto program with a 4.0 GPA, and then I started over here in the collision program this year," Paxson said.

The Marine veteran wants to one day own his own transmission and fabrication shop.  Going through the program at UTI, he hasn't let the fact that he's in a wheelchair stop him.

"When I first came down here, I didn't really give much thought to failing," Paxson said. "I figured I'd take a look at every obstacle and figure out a way to overcome it."

Following his return from service in 2008, Paxson fell 40 feet from a tree while working in his landscaping business. The accident severed his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.  When he decided to attend UTI, the school said it would work with him to make sure he could go through the program.

"For the most part, I get around pretty easily in the shop. Each thing kind of presents its own challenge. Once we figure it out, we just keep on moving."

The 30-year-old is set to graduate in February 2017. He says he wouldn't have gotten as far as he has, or plans to get to in the future, without the support of his wife and two kids.


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