Sometimes all you need is a lift – that is what an Oakland Police officer thought after he got to know a man he passed every day.
“I was riding by that intersection a hundred times and I saw Quincey there a hundred times,” Sergeant Clay Burch said about passing by the corner of Hegenberger and Edgewater in Oakland.
About six months ago, Sgt. Burch saw Quincey Carr, a man in a wheelchair holding signs for a local furniture store, and stopped to get to know him. What he would learn was Carr had been shot five times and paralyzed after speaking up for his girlfriend in an Oakland barbershop in 2006. He had just received his commercial pilot’s license.
“He’s an amazing guy. From there we just starting talking about he flies and he still flies. That amazed me, and we started talking about his dream of becoming a flight instructor,” Sgt. Burch said.
After the shooting, Carr learned to fly using only his hands. And 10 years later, he still dreams of becoming a flight instructor. Monday, Sgt. Burch made his dreams come true, helping Carr get a $10,000 scholarship to continue his studies.
“Burch got on the phone and started calling everyone he knew, saying I have to make this happen,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said a press conference and unveiling, which was a surprise to Carr.
“I’m just so stoked. I can’t wait to get back,” Carr said.
Everyone stepped in, from the Mayor to famed “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot “Sully” Sullenberger.
“Forever after, when I see a small airplane go over, I’m going to say, ‘I wonder if that’s Quincey,’” Sullenberger said.
Nonprofit Oakland Firefighters Random Acts raised $10,000 for Carr’s flight instructor school scholarship.
“We’ve been doing these random acts for 16 years, and there was no question we wanted to be a part of this,” said Larry Hendricks, a retired firefighter with Oakland Firefighters Random Acts.
The organization has also set up a GoFundMe page to help Carr with living expenses so he can focus on his studies.