By Madeline Armstrong
Editor’s note: Armstrong first wrote this piece as part of her internship at Herald Community Newspapers. To read the original, click here.
After a motorcycle accident in 2006 damaged his spinal cord and put Scott Fessler in a wheelchair as a paraplegic, instead of feeling down, he decided to start a foundation to help others dealing with spinal injuries.
“I can’t walk, but don’t wory about it. I’m still good-looking and funny,” he joked. Fessler is chief operating officer and founder of the Fessler Financial Corportation in East Rockaway and the Fessler Foundation, which provides financial support for primary research facilities whose goal is to find a cure for spinal cord injuries, as well as to benefit the community of people with these injuries. Assisting and providing support to them is what Fessler said he finds most gratifying.
“Whatever I can do to impact somebody’s life,” he said, “that, to me, is worth more than giving $100,000 to research to pay somebody’s salary.”
The foundation’s motto — “Get Back to Living” — is the maxim that Fessler lives by. “Get to living like you’ve been dying,” he said, emphasizing the importance of taking advantage of every moment and living life to the fullest.
That is the theme of Fessler’s financial career as well. After earning a degree in business administration from Hofstra University, he earned a number of financial licenses and start his own business. Fessler Financial Corporation has been providing financial services to its customers, assisting in selecting life insurance, estate planning, health insurance, investments and college/post-secondary educational planning.
Fessler said he enjoys the challenge and unpredictability that comes with his work. “In reality, I can’t control anything,” he said. “I can’t control the market. I can’t control the Federal Reserve. I can’t control the interest rates for my mortgage company, and yet it’s a challenge every day, and I love it.”
He added that the gratifying feeling that comes with making people’s hopes and dreams come true is what makes it all worth it, as does his work for the Fessler Foundation. “My hopes and dreams would be to walk again,” he said. “Walk my daughter down the aisle, but that would be a hope and a dream.”
After his accident, Fessler said, he was saddened by the loss of what he used to have, but didn’t let that stop him from being who he is and finding humor in life. His upbeat attitude made it clear to his wife and daughter that he would continue to be successful in his financial business and be a loving father and husband who gives great advice.
“My daughter goes, ‘Dad, I want to follow in your footsteps,’” Fessler said, “and I go, ‘Honey, make your own footsteps — make your own.’”
Fessler continues to provide financial services to East Rockaway and build the Fessler Foundation to help others. He does his best to garner awareness and support for those with spinal cord disabilities, and said he hoped that one day there would be progress in allowing people not to be “fully afflicted by a disease or paralysis.”
More information on how to donate to and support the Fessler Foundation can be found at fesslerfoundation.org.