his trip at a YMCA in Burbank, Calif., and returned to his native West
Hempstead on Monday after 99 days of travel, which is the subject of an
upcoming documentary, "Roll With Me: A Journey Across America."
Because the YMCA holds a special place in his heart, Cordell spent Tuesday visiting with campers at the YMCA in Glen Cove.
"The YMCA in Burbank was a safe haven to me," said Cordell, who became a paraplegic in 1992
when a car ran a red light and crashed into the driver's side of his
Jeep. That accident caused the car to flip, ejecting Cordell six feet
into the air into a telephone pole, crushing his back and his spinal
They YMCA, he said, always provided him solace.
time I felt sad or mad or upset i would always go there, and they would
put a smile on my face and give me a hug, and say that 'it's ok.' They
always encouraged me."
Cordell told campers that they are "part of something really special here," referring to the YMCA.
time you feel mad, any time you feel sad, and you need to talk to
someone, there is always someone here who will listen," Cordell said.
"Try to be part of this organization as long as you possibly can," he added.
wanting to motivate others, Cordell said that after his accident while
he was at the Rusk Instinstute in Manhattan, he became inspired by the
children who were also there. These children taught him how lucky he was
to have enjoyed 22 years of good health, and to see that his situation
wasn't so bad. The seven people helping to make the documentary and his
family, he said, are other great sources of support.
"They inspired me to be the best that I can be," he said.
The journey, he said, "was a great accomplishment."
is planning one more wheelchair journey – across the state of Israel,
where he hopes to inspire peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.