Just in time for Father's Day, a Maple Grove dad to three is getting a special honor by being named a national finalist for father of the year -- but it's no ordinary award. The paraplegic man is hoping to be dubbed the "Best Dad on Wheels."
At 21 years old, Steve Laux drove into Lake Superior and fractured his spine just above his shoulders. Now, he is not only a successful marketing executive, but he is also working to help others with disabilities.
Still, if you ask his family and friends what his greatest achievement is, they will say it's helping to raise his three children -- 3-year-old McKenzie and 11-month old twins, Dakota and Devin.
"The biggest challenge is being able to pick up the child like I would want to," Laux said.
He doesn't let that stop him, however.
"I look at parenting with a disability just the same as life with a disability -- and it's just coming up with creative solutions to be good at something," Laux explained. "I take it as a challenge and enjoy ever aspect of fathering."
According to Laux, his kids aren't really aware that he's in a wheelchair -- possibly because they're too busy using him as a jungle gym. In fact, his oldest only just realized he couldn't use his legs.
Laux met his wife, Chau, when the two were volunteers at the Courage Center.
"It's just his positive attitude that won me over -- and, of course, his good looks," she told FOX 9 News.
While the kids can be a handful for Chau, the girls only seem to give Laux more energy.
"Keeping up with my kids is the first thing," Laux said.
That's why Laux's friend nominated him for the title of "Best Dad on Wheels."
"Just being around him and seeing his interactions and love for his children -- why not?" asked Kurt Wiger. "He's very driven. Whatever he says he's going to do, he's going to do at full speed -- and with being a dad, he's just a great dad."
Last weekend, Laux was named a top 10 finalist by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Now, the Laux family and their friends are getting the vote out through Facebook and e-mail, letting everyone know that voting will be open through Father's Day.