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‘The Quadfather’ Credits Success to Grit, Tough Love and One Dope Ride

Gabriel Spitzer
Todd Stabelfeldt with his wife Karen, at their Port Orchard home.

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Todd Stabelfeldt drives a pretty dope ride.

Those are his words -- describing his super-high-tech, “murdered-out … completely black-on-black” vehicle.

It’s no ordinary ride: Stabelfeldt has quadriplegia, and his “whip” is a tricked-out wheelchair, an F5 Permobil equipped with a tongue-operated interface for navigating and controlling devices.

Stabelfeldt is is paralyzed from the neck down, but he’s not only that. He’s also a husband and stepfather, a successful IT professional and business owner. He’s spent most of his life in wheelchair, and so has developed a unique relationship with technologythat has allowed him to be more and more independent.

Stabelfeldt, who embraces his nickname “The Quadfather,” was injured as an 8-year-old child. He was playing with a cousin at home, when they found a small collection of rifles and other guns.

“That cat ended up shooting me in the chin, went through my throat and severed my spinal cord,” he said. “I remember it clear as day -- blood coming out of my face, and my cousin screaming I shot Todd! I shot Todd!”

Stabelfeldt’s disabilities would change the course of his life. But early on he, pushed by some tough love from his mother, resolved to live life fully and independently. Stabelfeldt would go on to attend college, found a business and get married.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.