Kenneth Gamble, first Wallace State CDL graduate to use wheelchair, earns full-time job driving across U.S.

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Kenneth Gamble earned his CDL license through Wallace State and is now driving for Jimbo and Company Transport. (Photo courtesy of WSCC)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Kenneth Gamble became the first graduate to utilize a wheelchair from Wallace State Community College’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program in 2020.

Gamble is now employed with Jimbo and Company Transport, a family-owned and operated company based in Indiana. Jimbo and Company transports cargo trailers, horse trailers, cars, RV trailers and government trailers across the United States.

Gamble, who lives near Dothan, visited campus during the fall 2021 semester, while fulfilling one of his routes. 

“Jimbo and Company is great to work for. I’ve been in a wheelchair since October 2009, and this is the first time since then I’ve found fulfillment in a job. I’m thankful Jimbo and Company believe in me, and I’m excited to prove how hard I’ll work,” Gamble said. “It means more than anyone else can remotely comprehend.” 

Wallace State’s Director for Center for Career and Workforce Development, Jamie Blackmon, added, “We are so proud of Kenneth. He exemplifies steadfast perseverance, and with his dedication and positive attitude, he will find even more success throughout his life.”

Over a decade ago, Gamble suffered a spinal stroke after undergoing major back surgery, forcing him to use a wheelchair. Gamble, who worked previously as a mechanic, became interested in earning a CDL after watching a Facebook video of a fellow wheelchair user earning his credentials.

Through networking connections at the Alabama Department of Rehab Services, Gamble was introduced to Wallace State’s CDL program and instructor Ben Matanane.

During his journey through the Wallace State program, Gamble completed his training by using trucks equipped with additional hand controls surrounding the steering wheel and connected to the gas and brake pedals.

Gamble used a lift, made by Life Essential Lifts, to transition from their wheelchair to the truck’s driver’s seat.

As an employee of Jimbo and Company, Gamble selects the transportation jobs he’s interested in through a “load board,” completes a preliminary checklist for delivery, and drives each cargo to its intended destination.

“I wouldn’t have this job if not for the help from the state, the instruction from Ben and Wallace State and those who believed in me,” Gamble said. “There really are no words to express my gratitude for it all.”

For more information about Wallace State’s CDL program, contact 256-352-8386.