It’s Been A Good Year (Jason Wheatley Guest Blog)

It has been a good year for yours truly. In this past year, I had the opportunity to do some pretty cool things and met, and became friends with, some incredible humans whom have done amazing things for me that I couldn’t be more grateful for.

It all began back in February. I knew that Pat McAfee had his own radio show on SiriusXM but had never gotten to listen to it because I wasn’t a subscriber. I was a fan of Pat’s podcast from Day 1 so I wondered what his live radio show was like, so I signed up for a free trial of SiriusXM. I listened to the show for the first time and was instantly hooked. After listening to the show a few times, I decided to call in and introduce myself and ask him a wrestling question. Little did I know, this wouldn’t be my first and only call, but I would become a regular caller.

I called into the show on March 20th and this call would be life changing. I called in to ask Pat and Todd if they would be interested in a friendly little wager on the Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds season series. To make a long story short, they accepted the bet and unintentionally learned my story and what my daily life was like being bedridden. After learning my story, Pat said he wanted to come and do a show from my room.

I called in again on March 23rd to thank the crew for the merch they sent and the folks that followed me on Twitter from the previous call. After getting off of the phone and the show came back from a break, the crew continued to talk about me a bit. Pat said that Nick had a great idea. Pat was doing a Swear Jar because he was preparing to do his first WWE NXT Preshow Panel where swearing is forbidden. Nick said that Pat should donate the Swear Jar money to me. Pat thought it was a great idea and that the money should go to a room renovation for the room that I live in while being completely bedridden. Pat set a $10,000 minimum for the Swear Jar. In the end, the Swear Jar, along with a GoFundMe for listeners that wanted to contribute to the cause, raised a total of about $13,000!

Fast forward to the month of May. A few of my firefighter friends and a nurse friend wanted to do something special for me. Chris, one of the firefighter friends, happens to be a member of the IndyCar Safety Team and has some connections. With the help of Heather Carpenter (the wife of IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter), arranged for an ambulance to pick me up on May 16th and take me to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch a practice session for the Indianapolis 500. Once we arrived, I was taken on a tour of the track, I got to meet Ed and his teammate Spencer Pigot, and then I was taken to the 8th floor of the Pagoda to watch practice. It was an incredible day that I won’t forget. We all had so much fun that we are planning on doing it again next year.

June 6th: Pat and some of the crew in the office came to record the podcast and present me with the Swear Jar money. All of us greeted each other and chit-chatted while Ty set up all of the recording equipment. The recording was a great time and it was surreal to me. Here I was, Pat McAfee (and his friends) in my house and talking to me face-to-face, eye-to-eye. The fact that I was in the presence of one of my favorite Colts was absolutely unreal and a dream come true. The podcast dropped on June 8th.

July 19th: A few firefighter friends from one of the local fire departments stopped by for a visit and to conduct a bit of official business. That official business involved me. I was made an official member of the department and was presented with a firefighting helmet with my own department number on the shield and my own uniform shirt complete with a nameplate with my name and badge. My brothers and sisters of the department say I am an official member but I still consider myself an honorary member. This accolade is one of the greatest honors of my life and means so much to me.

July 24th: Construction began on the Room Renovation sponsored by Pat McAfee. The renovation took three weeks to complete, and my family and I are very satisfied with the results. The room was opened up and gave my family ample space to move around while tending to my needs.

August 26: I had some friends that I made from Pat’s radio show come to visit. Brian from Champaign, his wife Kelly, and British Will came to watch the Cubs-Reds game with me and hang out. It was really cool getting to meet and hang out with a few fellow regular callers and friends from Pat’s radio show. All of us had a great time and are now lifelong friends and it’s all thanks to Pat McAfee. We will be getting together many more times in the future.

October 12th: Another friend that I made through Pat’s radio show, Nick and his friend Brody, are graphic designers and when they heard that Pat was having my room renovated, they wanted to do something for the room as well. Nick redesigned my Hoosier Fire Buff logo and put it on a sweet ass background. Nick and Brody came to visit and put the graphic up to ensure it was done right. A cool graphic from two cool cuzzies.

All said and done, it’s been a good…no, GREAT year, and one I will never forget!

@hoosierfirebuff