Someone You Should Know: "Dave "Wheels" Maxwell

Dave "Wheels" Maxwell (WHAM photo)

Some things that seem impossible are really only difficult.

Dave "Wheels" Maxwell grew up watching Don Alhart on television. It inspired his dream to be in broadcasting someday. And now, at age 38, he finally is. It’s the difficult climb that got him here that makes him Someone You Should Know.

Wheels is no stranger to tough climbs. On a trip with some radio co-workers to a Buffalo Sabres game last month, Maxwell was determined to sit with his friends in the front row. That meant abandoning his spot in the wheelchair section. But it also meant, after the game, climbing dozens of steps back to his chair.

“If I see a challenge, I go for it,” Maxwell says.

Being a broadcaster is a challenge Dave Maxwell first dreamed of taking on as a little boy. He was a big fan of Channel 13 anchorman Don Alhart, and the late meteorologist Bill Peterson.

“I can remember being a kid and having a microphone in my hand,” says Wheels. “I was Don Alhart, and then I would pass it to Bill Peterson. And I was both of them. I always wanted to do this.”

And it was Alhart himself who gave "Wheels" his first break. At age 11, Alhart invited Maxwell to appear on the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon, which Channel 13 carried for years.

Wheels, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 14 months old, ended up back on Channel 13 as an 8th grader. He was fighting to get an elevator installed at Greece Arcadia High School.

“A year after I graduated, they put the elevator in, and I'm very proud of that,” he says.

Wheels would go on to earn an associate’s degree in graphic design. But his goal of being a broadcaster might not have been reached had he never met radio host Brother Wease over a game of poker. Both are avid players, and both like to tell stories.

Maxwell recalls, “We were sitting there one day and he said, ’You're funny. You need to come up on the radio and tell some of your stories.’ And it's just been a dream ever since.”

Alan “Brother Wease” Levin says he noticed right away how others were impressed with Maxwell’s positive attitude and constant smile. It led to that invitation from Wease to join his show on Radio 95.1 every Friday.

Maxwell says he enjoys meeting listeners.

“Just to know that you connect with someone,” said Maxwell. “And people come up and say, ‘You make me smile,’ or, ‘You make me forget about your troubles,’ and that's just an amazing feeling.”

It's been a long climb. But you will never hear Wheels complain.

“You can either choose to sit on the sidelines and say, ‘Why me?’” he says. “Or you can say, ‘This is the hand I was dealt. It's not pocket aces, but you’ve got to do the best you can with it.’”

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