Dennis McLaughlin was born in 1948 with spina bifida, a birth defect that left him unable to use his legs.

But his mother, Theresa McLaughlin — a single mom who worked at a local paper mill– knew that “from the neck up, he’s just fine.” So she treated Dennis just like any other kid.

At a StoryCorps mobile booth, Dennis payed tribute to the way Theresa raised him.

Originally aired May 11, 2012 on NPR’s Morning Edition.