Stricken with a bacterial and viral meningitis infection at only 18-months old, Tanner has undergone 30+ surgeries (including multiple surgeries in a day). He lost most of all of his digits on both hands and feet. And, he had to endure surgeries where the doctors “scraped the growth plates on both of his knees and ankles” so that he wouldn’t grow anymore because his growing could lead to his legs breaking.
Perhaps disabled to the naked eye, Tanner is anything but that. He is enrolled in the Tri County Tech Welding program and is in his junior year at Bartlesville High School. He also works part-time with Bartlesville Elite Aircraft Services.
All those who encounter Tanner are changed by his calm demeanor and quiet courage. Welding Instructor Scott Sutherland said all of the welding students love Tanner and have taken him under their wing. When asked if he sometimes gets tired of being helped, Tanner calmly says, “I’ll always take the help and just be nice.”
Tanner has always had an interest in welding and looks forward to being a career welder in his near future. He likes being able to help out and enjoys turkey hunting with his welding buddies. He’s also very excited about the custom-made prosthetic hand being 3D-printed at Tri County Tech through a cross-departmental collaboration of Bio-med, Pre-engineering, and Welding students and staff.