Turning POINT Founder
10/17/1951 - 06/19/2016
Michael "Shorty" Powers conceived and developed Turning POINT in 1979 with the belief that there is great healing power in nature. He and his friend, John Galland, were trailblazers into the wilderness of organized adapted outdoor recreational activities for folks with disabilities back in the day. It all began with 11 attendees at their first kayaking class on Bachman Lake. Next thing you know, Shorty and the gang were climbing the highest mountain in Texas, going river rafting, and planning a newfangled fishing tournament!
The Turning POINT tradition continues today, some 37 years later, with an established nation-wide non-profit organization whose mission is to develop self-esteem and confidence in the physically challenged population through participation in adapted outdoor adventures. As such, we provide programs and activities exclusively for those physically-challenged due to spinal cord injuries, paraplegia, quadriplegia, spina bifida, polio, amputees and other conditions resulting in decreased mobility.
Shorty has spent his adult life planning, organizing, struggling, talking, begging, and doing everything possible to make sure Turning POINT stays alive, as there are so many who benefit from realizing they can remain active in their favorite outdoor pursuits. Each year, hundreds of people with physical challenges and their families flock to our signature event, the Extravaganza, at Bachman Recreation Center in Dallas, Texas to try any or all of the 25+ adapted activities available that day! Time and time again, it is at this annual event that someone finds out that they can still fly fish or go camping or hunting with some simple adaptations; then, they are hooked!
Michael "Shorty's" wheelchair is empty today. His love of life, passion for the outdoors, coupled with his refusal to accept "limitations" and his readiness to tackle a challenge made Shorty a truly unforgetattable man. Throughout his life, Shorty never meet a stranger, with many becoming life-long friends. There's a void in all the hearts and lives Shorty touched throughout his action-packed life. You might have met him at a restaurant, POINT activity, rehab or the WalMart parking lot. For many, their life was forever changed by their encounter with Shorty.
On March 16, 1969, Shorty survived a tragic car accident that killed his friend; his aorta was torn which resulted in paraplegia. Always a nature lover and avid outdoorsman, Shorty didn't let his wheelchair keep him indoors! He trail-blazed a path to start the first organized adaptive outdoor recreational adventures for folks with disabilities. His impact on people who were "newly injured" was remarkable and life-altering! With new-found confidence discovered in conquering outdoor challenges, Shorty founded a non-profit organization, Turning POINT, in 1979. Shorty's vision of empowering lives using the lealing force of nature combined with adapted recreational activities for the mobility impaired community.
Some of Shorty's accomplishments include:
Lone Star Legends, TPWD Chairman's Award for Public Service: 1999
Barbara Jrdan Award (for Turning POINT video): 2000
The Hall of Fame at the TPWD Freshwater Fisheries Center: 2004
A Night of Light Awards of Excellence: 2006
He climbed a mountain, played tennis and basketball, scuba dived, sailed boats, hunted, kayaked, caught myraid of fish and loved people and life!
Shorty's best friend, the late Randy Snow, once said"If anyone is meant to be in a wheelchair, it's Shorty.....to show us the way"!
And still today, with the help of many friends, members, volunteers and the staff still believe that if an able-bodied psychiatrist in a hospital cannot convince a newly-injured patient that life is worth living... then there is Turning POINT! Won’t you join us? And continue Shorty's dream....
In an article for “Sports and Spokes” Magazine in May of 2005, longtime friend and confidant, Randy Snow, tells Shorty’s story to the world!