Garrison Redd, 32, started the Garrison Redd Project after quitting his job at the Internal Revenue Service.
"One day I woke up and I said, 'I'm way too cool for this. I have good qualities. I need to be out in the world and I need to be helping people,'" he said.
Redd, who lives in East New York, was paralyzed in 2005 after being struck by a stray bullet outside his home in Brownsville. The bullet burned the nerves in his spine.
Redd was going into his senior year in high school and his last year on the high school football team. He had dreams of playing sports in college.
"The doctor told me something early in my injury that really changed my life. She said, 'You know, you don't have to be the player, you could be the coach.' And once she told me, I could be the coach, I thought from a leadership aspect,' he said.
Redd said his mother also changed his perspective.
"Nobody's going to feel sorry for you," he said she told him. "You're still going to go on in life. You're still going to achieve anything you want to achieve."
Redd went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Finance from York College.
In 2016, Redd went back to the gym to get in shape. Someone approached him about wheelchair racing.
He participated in wheelchair racing, javelin, shot put and discus and then made his way into powerlifting.
He's hoping to represent the USA at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year.
Redd trains at Gaglione Strength in Farmingdale with gym owner John Gaglione.
Redd currently benches about 300 pounds and only weighs 133 pounds. He's hoping to break the 300-pound mark by the end of 2020.
"He is always focused on what he can control, not what he can't. I think it's a great lesson for everybody," Gaglione said.
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