THE BOY IN THE WAGON: They Said I Would Never Walk Again

John Yoak was born in 1928 to a large, poor, coal miner’s family just one year before America’s Great Depression hit. He spent most of his childhood living in a coal patch town not far from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of America’s largest industrialized cities at the time. Despite his family’s poverty, John was a happy, healthy, active boy until tragedy struck when he was only six-years-old.

While walking to school one morning during one of Western Pennsylvania‘s worst winters on record, John was run over by a loaded coal truck. An accident he should not have survived. After spending a year and a half in the hospital and enduring multiple procedures, surgeries, and set-backs, he was sent home without further therapy and a final prognosis that “he would never walk again.“ But can the quiet, determined will of a child prove them wrong?

He had no thoughts of proving anything. When he returned home, he was an eight-year-old boy who simply longed to be out running around with his friends and siblings like every other kid.

His story inspires us to believe it is possible not only to survive but to thrive, no matter what we are confronted with in this life.

The true story of a boy’s journey to manhood from tragedy to triumph. A tragic event is sometimes unknowingly right around the corner. How it will impact our lives is up to us.


Kathy was the fourth generation born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she lived until, at the age of fourteen, her family moved near Newport Beach, California. That fed her lifelong love of everything summer: long days on the sand; Colorado River and Lake Havasu, AZ trips to waterski, jet ski, or boat along their waterways; kayaking and paddleboarding at Newport harbor.

Though Kathy started college as an art major, her life eventually took her in another direction. She spent over forty years in corporate management and continues as a remote consultant. After retiring, she sought out a new experience, this time tapping into her more creative side.

An avid reader from childhood, writing offered her that creative outlet. She believes you are never too old to learn something new when you set your mind to it. Her first book, “The Boy In The Wagon: They Said I Would Never Walk Again” was a #1 new release and Amazon bestseller in four book categories. Proving what can be accomplished at any age when you invest the time and energy into it.

Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband of thirty-nine years, Mike, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, “Charlie.” They have two grown children, six grandchildren, and to date, one great-grandchild. They have always traveled and in retirement, remote work makes it possible to travel more extensively.

Find her: Website
@kathyyoakrees.writes Instagram


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