Blind man hurt in crash ‘always positive’

Osmon Koroma and his physical therapist Sarah Stuart. (April 11, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Osmon Koroma’s story is one of recovery, positive attitude and perseverance.

Koroma, who is blind, was hit by a car on March 19 while walking down Division Avenue near 56th Street in Wyoming. Koroma was critically injured.

Now, he is making remarkable progress at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids. Though still recovering, he is learning to walk again.

“He is wonderful to work with and an extremely hard worker,” Koroma’s physical therapist Sarah Stuart said.

The crash isn’t the first time the 24-year-old Koroma — who goes  by Ozzie — has faced tough circumstances. His family was separated from his mother when he was 7 and he has not seen her since. He was not born blind, but lost all of his vision by age 14. He spent time in 13 different West African refugee camps over the course of 13 years before coming to the U.S., sponsored by a Hastings church.

And on top of Koroma being seriously hurt, his service dog Gala was killed in the March crash.

“Even though she was goofy and outgoing and friendly, she always did her job perfectly, so I believe that she saved my life,” Koroma said Friday.

But Koroma’s attitude has helped him overcome every obstacle life has thrown his way.

24 Hour News 8 first met Koroma on July 4, 2013. He was immediately full of surprises.

“Independence means that even if someone tells you that you can not climb this mountain, you prove them wrong,” he said at the time.

Koroma said what he wants most is to make a difference in the world. He has already done that at Mary Free Bed.

“He is a big inspiration for other patients and other patients families here,” Mary Free Bed Dr. Stephen Bloom said.

“I believe that nothing is impossible and that I can do whatever I want,” Koroma said Friday.

His spirit is undaunted, his attitude infectious, and his message clear:

“You should always be positive and you should always have a smile on your face, and just move on with your life no matter how difficult it is,” he said.

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