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Self-sufficiency: A path to health

Staff writer

For some, it is difficult to say what is more terrifying: Facing a serious health affliction without health insurance or traversing the mountainous debt necessary procedures could incur.

Presented with such a scenario, it is hard to arrive at a solution that is as creatively industrious as Peabody resident Rob Oursler’s answer is.

Instead of pursuing a more traditional fundraising approach, he is manufacturing and selling three types of custom-made shooting targets in attempt to raise money for back surgery he needs.

“This is Marion County; people have to work hard for their money and I don’t want anybody’s money for nothing, but if I can make something that somebody wants, well that’s OK,” he said. “I thought of building shooting targets because I love shooting, it’s relaxing; and building is just fun.”

On his four-foot-tall dueling trees, shooters can faceoff head-to-head by aiming for targets on either side of the tree that, when hit, flip from side-to-side.

His steel pinwheel targets have a 60-inch circumferences and must be shot repeatedly to keep spinning.

Most of his targets are made from hard steel, but the gong is much heavier and thicker. Oursler said his gong target could withstand a blast from rocket launcher.

He said his target manufacturing is not a business. However, he is willing to make repairs on his targets if they break. He also is willing to take orders on other types of targets; all he needs is a picture and some basic design specifications.

At 34, Oursler was diagnosed with a two bulging disks in his lower back and a bone spur that he said is growing into his sacroiliac joint and slowly sealing off his sciatic nerve. After getting an MRI about a month ago, he said doctors told him that the bone spur could have grave consequences if left untreated.

“If I don’t get surgery on at least the bone spur, it will continue to grow and get worse,” Oursler said. “I won’t be able to walk and I will be on more pain meds than I ever want to see.”

In 2005, he said he sustained a serious neck injury. At that time, doctors diagnosed him with degenerative disk disease, which, more recently, led to his bulging disks.

Oursler said he cannot afford health insurance, and the bone spur operation could cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.

Constant pain and aching pressure in his hip and lower back area affects his gait, movement, and livelihood.

“I’m learning how to move and what I can and can’t do,” Oursler said. “It’s changed the way I walk.”

If he sits or stands too long or turns or twists in the wrong way, pain shoots down his leg. He said the problem has reduced his leg strength, causing it to give out several times, and has made his legs and hips go “completely numb.”

“I have to be careful of how I pick up my [five-month-old] daughter so I don’t aggravate anything,” he said. “I have to get down on all fours. She’s only 16 pounds.”

Usually specializing in commercial utilities but now on light or limited duty at Middle Creek Corporation, a family-run construction company, Oursler has reluctantly learned to take regular breaks at work, and when building targets.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t let his situation get him down.

“I get overwhelmed with stuff, but at the end of the day life is just grand,” he said. “I’m not going to stop living just because this is happening to me.”

More information about Oursler’s targets is available by calling (785) 213- 6134.

Last modified March 30, 2017

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