Carwile says he's lived in Allendale, Illinois since he was born. He's spent most of those years involved in the community involved in a number of different organizations.
But that changed several years ago when he was in a car accident that changed his life.
"It's been a learning experience. New challenges just about for everything that I do," Carwile says.
Since his car wreck in 2008, Carwile has been learning how to live without using his legs.
"In the accident, my car flipped and it paralyzed me, but my kids walked away with scrapes and bruises," Carwile says.
Robert says he's thankful his kids weren't hurt, but being wheelchair bound isn't easy.
"He has fallen out of his chair a couple times and broke his legs a couple times, which is really uncalled for. It's unnecessary," says Gail Morgan, Robert's friend.
Every day things that seemed simple before are much harder now.
"I have watched the struggles he's had in the last three years since I've known him, especially lately, it's gotten worse probably in the last year," says Debbie McClane, a friend.
But Robert says the toughest thing is getting in and out of the car. He has to get inside, take the wheelchair apart and put it in the front seat, only to do it again when he wants to get out.
Friends and family says he's inspiring.
I'm proud of him for showing us that nothing's impossible," Morgan says. "I've never heard him complain once. I've never seen him have a down moment or a bad time."
"He never complains. He always comes in with a smile on his face," McClane says.
It's his spirit and his desire to always keep pushing that convinced them to enter him into the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association's contest. Anyone across the country can enter a local hero giving them a chance to win a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
"It'll just be a joy to see him be able to go more, get around easier, and go to the places that he desires to go," Morgan says.
Carwile says he's thrilled to have a shot at getting a new car.
"It would mean a lot more to me because of the fact that I'd be able to get out and do a lot more stuff around town," he says.
But he believes if he doesn't win, someone deserving will get it.
"I'm not the only one who goes through this every day," he shares.
The contest winners are chosen based on how many votes they get. To vote for him, click here and search for Robert Carwile. You are allowed one vote per email address per day. Votes will be accepted until May 9.
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