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  • The Chapel Hill News - Dec, 2003

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No Arms Needed

A Hero Among Us

Synopsis

Marty's story is one of strength, perseverance and courage. Viewers will never see the hurdles in their own lives the same way after watching Marty.

63 year old Marty Ravellette has lived his entire life without arms. His life has not been easy, but Marty has made the most of it. Fiercely independent, Marty runs his own landscaping business in Chapel Hill, NC. On any given day you'll find him driving his van and heading out to plant trees, trim shrubs, mow yards and even run a chainsaw. He does it all with his feet. And he does it remarkably well.

In our one-hour Discovery Channel documentary about Marty, we watch Marty work and take on daily task that most of us take for granted. We learn how Marty became the person he is by tracing his life from his birth in Indiana through his next 16 years at the Good Shepherd's Home in Pennsylvania and on to a variety of jobs, living situations, marriages and adventures.

We follow Marty for six months in his current life and meet his family and friends. We meet Marty's extremely lucid 92-year-old mother and his sister who recount Marty's childhood. We take a trip to Sea World in San Diego, where Marty's mother currently lives, and watch Marty, his mom, his current wife and granddaughter on a typical family outing. We also go with Marty to his family reunion in Indiana and hear stories about his very unusual childhood.

We also visit the Good Shepherd's Home in Allentown, PA and meet a man who tells us about Marty's rowdy childhood. We learn how Marty's experience at the Good Shepherd Home helped prepare him for the rest of his life.

We ride along with Marty, his wife Maree and his three step granddaughters to Lakeland, Florida to visit his first wife (who also has no arms) and his biological daughter and his biological grandsons. We speak to Marty's first wife and learn how she was initially attracted to him after reading a story about him receiving a speeding ticket going over 80 on a freeway in Los Angeles.

Through out the hour we see how Marty manages to work and live without the use of arms and learn how this experience has made him a remarkable person and effective inspirational speaker. We see Marty fish with his granddaughters, shoot pool with friends, sip coffee and light and smoke cigarettes - all with his feet!

We recreate the incident of Marty and Maree saving an elderly woman's life by kicking in the window of her smoldering car. We learn how this action landed him on the Rosie O'Donnell Show and prompted an award recognizing him as Handicapped Person of the Year in NC - an honor he also received in Oregon.

We see Marty provide words of wisdom to a Journalism Class at the University of North Carolina and the incoming UNC athletes.

Marty and Maree also share intimate moments at home with their own digital video of their life together. Marty tells us about his challenges and what keeps him going in spite of such significant challenges.

Marty's story is one of strength, perseverance and courage. Viewers will never see the hurdles in their own lives the same way after watching Marty.