Pumping Life Back Into Mexico
MEXICO - Far from its prime, many doorways in downtown Mexico have withered away. Some of the stores are rarely open and some you cannot even tell what they sell or do.
One woman returned to her roots to pump some life back into the downtown area. Lisa Ovaitt was born and raised in Mexico. "I pretty much never came back except for visits. I graduated in ''74 from high school so I have been away pretty much for 40 years," said Ovaitt.
"I was at a point in my life where I was at a job that was very negative and I decided that if I was ever going to follow my dream of opening a store, now is the time," said Ovaitt of her new store SQWEAR. "I have a new re-kindled love for Mexico."
SQWEAR sells the latest fashion trends for adult women along with custom made jewelry. The store will start selling men's clothing before the start of summer. It is the only place in downtown Mexico of this genre and such current style trends.
She acknowledges the fact that small towns neglect what people really want, "... people in small towns want style and quality and they are underestimated for that."
Her goals are to bring the town up to date. She also said she simply wants make a difference in the town. So, Lisa has been incorporating philanthropy into her business as often as possible. At the grand opening Saturday March 1st, 2014 10% of the profits from the day went to Kevin Ogar.
Kevin Ogar was paralyzed in a cross fit accident in Orange County, California, January 12th of this year. His family helplessly watched the live stream of the event halfway across the country in St. Louis.
KOMU 8 News caught up with Kevin's father at Ovaitts store in Mexico. "It was a weight lifting move that he was doing and, uh, he lost the weights at the top.... and I don't know, I was watching it at the time so it's hard to talk about," said Vince Ogar holding back tears.
Vince Ogar, remembers Mexico's heyday. "When I grew up here, which was many years ago, the square was the place to go." Ogar said, "With the onset of Walmart and these other places it kind of died and it's great to see it come back like this coming on to the square, it's kind of cool."
Ovaitt said it had always been a family oriented town, "The town really rallies around someone when they need it and I am very proud of that."
Kevin currently is getting treatment in Denver, Colorado at Craig Hospital, one of the best rehab hospitals for brain and back injuries in the nation. Kevin was expected to be released from Craig hospital March 13, 2014. He plans to continue coaching and plans to go back to cross fit. You can donate to Kevin Ogars foundation Ogar Strong here.
Exclusive Interview with Megan Ogar, Kevin's Younger Sister
L. Spivak: First off, Are you older or younger than Kevin? What are your guys' ages like?
M. Ogar: I am younger than Kevin. I just turned 25 and he is 28. He's the middle and I am the youngest.
L. Spivak: Can you describe your relationship with Kevin since he is your big brother?
M. Ogar: Kevin is, well what a lot of people think of is that he is just that really good older brother. Of course, protective of his little sister but always just been so supportive of me and helping me along the way with all sorts of things I want to accomplish. He also has a really great sense of humor so we love to tease one another and we kind of go back and forth. None of that has changed even with everything that has gone on. So, he really is just that quintessential big, older brother that I always know Kevin will have my back no mater what and I'm always going to have his.
L. Spivak: I know your dad had told me that he loves Superman. Is there any story behind that or anything?
M. Ogar: Kevin has just, as far as I can remember, always loved Superman. Really been into the comics, the movies, everything, and so even stuff like Superman as a kid. There is a picture that I really like where I am dressed up as Cinderella for Halloween and he is dressed up as Superman. That's kind of perfect for the both of us, I loved Disney Princesses and he loves Superman. But even in high school he would always, for spirit weeks and anything, dress up as Superman. One time he actually came to school in a suit and everyone was really confused. At lunchtime he and his friend kind of staged a fake super hero saving. He ripped off his shirt like Clark Kent would and he had a superman costume on underneath and his friend was Bruce Wayne from Batman. That's Kevin! That's the kind of stuff he does. So, he always just loved Super man and I think it has been really cool to see how much everyone has embraced that for him because now he really is going to show everyone that he is Superman and he is not going to let this get him down. I think it is a cool connection for him to have.
L. Spivak: I think so too and that's why I wanted to ask you about it. And the Halloween story is great, with you as Cinderella and him as Superman. Now, I have a question for you about the accident. Where were you when it happened? I know your parents were watching it live-streamed from their home in St. Louis, were you with them or where were you?
M. Ogar: I was with them. I was not with them watching but I was with them at their home in St. Louis because I was home for break. I actually had been sick that weekend and had slept in and kind of woke up to all of this happening. Woke up to trying to figure out what had happened. My dad had been watching and he had seen Kevin get hurt and so we were just trying to fact find as much as possible. Find out how Kevin was and how to get in touch with him.
L. Spivak: What were you feeling and thinking in those moments? I mean, that's very surreal just waking up and kind of being thrown into a tizzy. What were your first reactions?
M. Ogar: I think for me, my first reaction was just to get information and try and keep my parents calm because we didn't know anything at that point. We didn't have any information and really that whole day was waiting for information. I sort of am the Paulianna of the family, kind of always believing the best and hoping for the best. So, throughout the day we would get some information and I would just be like ‘We don't know that it's that bad.' And then we'd get another piece of information and again ‘We don't know that it's that bad.' You know, it is very surreal when you all kind of just sit there and none of it really sinks in but I think my immediate concern was finding out information so we knew what was going on because I think when your imagination runs away with you things can seem a lot worse than they are.
L. Spivak: Yeah, especially when you're not there and that close to the situation. You guys were kind of in a helpless situation just waiting for more phone calls and what not. How did the family as a whole deal with it? You had kind of said that you, yourself, was a very positive person, like a rock in this situation is what you made it sound like. How did the rest of the family react?
M. Ogar: You know, I think that Kevin being the center of this was such a positive attitude and has really helped all of us to stay positive because Kevin being the person he is was just more concerned about how we were dealing with it. Like, he called me that day saying, ‘No, I don't want you to be upset, I'm going to be okay.' I think Kevin taking that attitude really allowed all of us to also have that positive attitude. You cry tears for sad reasons, it wasn't like everyone was happy all the time and that kind of thing, you kind of just have to deal with things as they come. We cried a lot of happy tears in those first few days and we cried a lot of sad ones, but I think the happy ones out weighed the sad ones by far.
L. Spivak: Can you describe the first time you saw Kevin after the accident? Your dad sent me a picture of you and Kevin together, I'm assuming at the hospital, can you describe what that was like seeing him for the first time?
M. Ogar: Yeah! So, he was injured on a Sunday and my parents went out the next day. My oldest brother and I went out to California, where he was injured, on Wednesday. So we had gotten in really late on Wednesday and Kevin was already falling asleep but he was trying really hard to stay awake to see Steven and I. He was really in, he had just had surgery the day before, so he was still in and out and feeling a lot of pain but I walked in and grabbed his hand and he opened his eyes and smiled and said ‘I'm so glad you guys are hear and it's just so good to see both of you.' At that point all of the support for Kevin had just been starting so, of course, I teased him a little bit and said, ‘Who knew you were such a popular guy?' and ‘Who knew all these people liked you so much?' He kind of laughed and said that he had no idea. It was great to be there with him and I have gone to see him in Colorado since and it's really good just to be around him.
L. Spivak: Speaking of the support, What can you tell me about Ogar Strong and the whole foundation that has been formed to help him with donations and everything?
M. Ogar: That has really been such an amazing blessing. He is surrounded by such an incredible community and I think that really speaks about the community that surrounds Kevin and to the kind of person Kevin is. It has just been astounding to our family; there are absolutely no words to describe what that has meant to us and what kind of hope that has given us in a situation where a lot of people would have been left hopeless. It has really made it possible for our family to have hope.
L. Spivak: My last question is, your father shared with me how he is going to be released from the rehabilitation center in the next couple of weeks and as a younger sister what are your hopes for Kevin as he moves on with his life after this traumatic event?
M. Ogar: I think that Kevin will, while he will lead a very different life than maybe the one he had planned, I think it will be even more fulfilling. I think he is just so committed to helping others and really just giving back to people that he is really going to do something incredible with his life and he has said this, he says it better than I do, but his legs didn't make him the person he is. He is the person he is because of his heart and that is not going to change.