Don Balliette

The first time I met Don Balliette, I knew I was in the presence of someone special. By this time he was already in a wheelchair, having been left a quadriplegic after the pick up truck he was driving rolled several times.

At the time I was a driver for CitiLift in Reno and Don was a passenger. He told me he’d been a cowboy before getting injured.

Don often told me about working as a horse shoeing assistant, a packer and guide and as a farm and ranch hand.  From that time on, I called him “Cowboy.”

He spent his “wheelchair years” volunteering for victim impact panels, the Reno Rodeo, at the Marvin Picollo School, Mothers against Drunk Driving and Sparks Christian Fellowship Church and painting western scenes.  Unfortunately, Don passed away after a long illness, March 11th 2012.

During his memorial service the 29th, a number of folks could be heard saying, “Now Don’s in Heaven with a perfect body — running and jumping.”  But as Pastor Scott Parker noted,  “No way — Don’s riding a horse — at a full gallop.”

I’m going to miss his smiling face and sunny disposition.

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