“Wild Man” rises above expectations

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica C. Donnelly
  • 131st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"Good luck in life to you, you won't amount to anything," said the superintendent of a small town school in Sikeston, Mo. to a student at his high school graduation. This was one of the many criticisms that Willie "Wild Man" Deuster has had to overcome during his life.

Born 3 months early and weighing just over 2 pounds, Deuster was diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, a condition that causes involuntary movements in the muscles.

Deuster explained, with this condition he has to work very hard to control his limbs. For example, when he reaches for something with his right arm his other arm and both legs try to make the same movement.

Also, because of the cerebral palsy, Deuster has constant muscle spasms in his left arm. He has to sit on his hand in order to keep the spasms under control.

However, he is still able to laugh about his condition. He said, "If anyone walks up on my left side 'boom!' I could be a boxing star"

Although Deuster is able to joke about it now, the cerebral palsy caused hard times for him throughout his life. He said, many people told him that he would not be able to do tasks that capable people take advantage of.

However, being told this has not stopped Deuster.

"I live as normal of a life as I can," Deuster said. This includes living on his own with minimum aid and learning how to drive himself, but also going above and beyond normal day-to-day activities and learning how to ski, water ski and even go on a tandem sky-dive jump.

Even after breaking his arm from skiing, Deuster was back on the slopes the very next winter. When the ski instructors asked him what he wanted to do, he responded, "take me to the top."

The cerebral palsy is Deuster's handicap, but he does not like to refer to it as so.

Deuster said, "A highschool teacher told me 'I resent handicap kids, they slow down the class.'

Deuster responded to her, "I don't see a handicap kid, I see a disabled kid."

Deuster added, "I love this word disable...you can disable the word and make it able."

Deuster was the Brown Bag Speaker Series guest for May 3, 2008.