Chattanoogan: Scott Rix – “A Family Of Heroes”

Saturday, November 24, 2012 - by Jen Jeffrey

Growing up in Six Corners Chicago, Scott Rix had a fairly typical upbringing; but Scott’s life would have many challenges ahead and he would be partnered with just the right person at his side.

Scott Rix met his wife, Cindy, while living in Chicago and in 1982 he married the woman who would leap tall buildings in a single bound right before his eyes.

Cindy would not think of herself as a hero and would laugh shaking her head if anyone suggested that she were, but to her family she is the glue that holds them together.

The admiration that Scott has for his soul-mate resonates with deep respect as he relays the story of their family.

Scott and Cindy were not given the American dream most couples envision when starting a family. They were given more.

“We tried for children with no luck and were told to consider adoption,” Scott says. “A few weeks later Cindy got the call, ‘You’re pregnant and we think it’s twins,” Scott recounts.

After having an ultrasound, it was revealed that the couple was actually going to have triplets.

“Triplets were considered a high risk pregnancy,” Scott says. Cindy had many complications during her pregnancy. At one point they were told there were only two babies and at another point the doctor thought one of the triplets would be still born.

The risks were frightening and stressful as Cindy dealt with multiple tests throughout her pregnancy and eventually had to be on bed rest. She could not carry her bundle of love to term.

Though premature labor is normal in multiple births, Cindy was only able to carry the triplets for 26 weeks with their weight being a little over a pound each.

“They had to be four pounds to come home and they were in incubators,” Scott says. “It was a lot to deal with. We didn’t think Kyle would live - he had a lot of problems.”

Scott and Cindy traveled back and forth to the hospital just to hold their babies or to give blood. The three newborns could not be taken home at the same time because of complications.

“This was just starting out,” Scott insists, “then you had kids coming home; one came home, then another, then another.” There were months in between that each of their children would be able to leave the hospital.

The birth of triplets Kyle, Nate and Lauren cost over $2 million. The company Scott worked for at the time offered private insurance and did not cover catastrophic. “It has never been a normal life,” Scott discloses.

Kyle was born with cerebral palsy while his sister Lauren had hydrocephalus, which is similar to Down's Syndrome. Their brother Nate would deal with severe ADHD and the siblings would continue to be faced with many challenges ahead.

Respectfully, Scott praises his wife Cindy as the strong force keeping it all together.

“Cindy nurtured these kids. She did not accept the fact that Kyle had CP. She just said, ‘Okay, Kyle, this is going to take you a little longer but you are going to be like everyone else; you’ll walk like everyone else, play baseball like everyone else, you will do what everyone else does’ and she would not accept anything less than excellence from any of them,” Scott vows.

His wife encouraged their children to try their very best.  “Cindy learned what their skills were and helped them develop them to their best ability,” Scott says.

With a background in the international business world, Scott moved his family to South Carolina where he was employed by the Danaher Corporation.

While Scott was working his way up the corporate ladder, Cindy raised the kids as if she were a single parent, taking on the special needs of her triplets as well as fighting for their rights with the school system in South Carolina.

Cindy had a second pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy daughter named Josie who had no complications.

“My wife is the greatest mom that ever walked the face of the earth to have raised our kids with all their challenges,” Scott voices.  

“She took on the South Carolina education system and won. She was able to get free testing for ADHD, Dyslexia and special educational challenges,” he says proudly.

Cindy was on the committee ‘Promise 2000’. “She rocked the boat and now any kid in South Carolina is eligible for testing based on their needs and not by the old standards,” Scott insists.

After six years with the Danaher Corp., Scott brought his family to Chattanooga and held various jobs at Playcore and EPB and eventually joined the group Airnet.

While Kyle, Nate and Lauren live healthy, normal lives now, the credit goes to both parents.

Even though Scott was taking on new business challenges so that Cindy could be home to raise their children, his positive attitude encouraged his wife and their children.

Scott went through having his mother pass away and shortly after, he lost his sister. Dealing with back to back grief, he also had to conduct estate matters and his children were ready for college.

It was a stressful time and Scott had undergone a stroke, related to high blood pressure, but he didn’t suffer residual effects in his health.

With his optimistic approach, Scott acknowledges hardships and challenges but truly views his life as a blessing.

“Everything the kids do, they strive for the very best,” he says.

Scott and his family have been involved with the YMCA for years and are happy to support fundraising activities. Cindy is on the board for Kids on the Block helping that organization grow.

Their daughter, Josie, now coaches kids’ soccer and also volunteers. When she was in school at GPS, Josie’s best friend Palmer Griffin had passed away from leukemia. Josie wore Griffin’s No. 13 jersey in a soccer game to remember her friend.

“All our kids know that we have been blessed and we have to give back,” Scott says.

Josie had written a paper for school and said that one of the important things about her father was that he would help anyone as she remembered the time Scott was helping a handicapped kid at the Y and missed the Super Bowl.

“When the grandmother of the boy came to get him, she saw me shooting basketball with him and I had been working with him for over three hours,” Scott maintains.

The grandmother had asked when Scott would be working again and he said, “Oh, I don’t work here, I am a member.”  She felt really bad and Scott said, “Don’t feel bad – this made my day.”

Facing trials themselves, the Rix family has always given help to those who need it and they learned to be strong in tough situations. When daughter, Lauren, was having emergency brain surgery (she has had 32 surgeries in her life with hydrocephalus) Cindy has been there every step of the way.

“Lauren had almost drowned when she had a seizure in the water, even though she was a great swimmer,” Scott says, “but Cindy was not one to freak out – everyone was trying to get her be calm when they told her and she said, ‘I’m not upset, just tell me what is going on’,” Scott relates.

“She had to be their advocate all their life and she did a great job. Our son, Nate, is a soldier now - he can bench 480 pounds and he says, ‘Mom has always been my hero’,” Scott says.

Nate has come through his learning challenges with ADHD and is in the101st Air Born Division of the Army stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. He recently completed a nine-month tour in Afghanistan.

Kyle and Lauren share an apartment at the base of Signal Mountain and Lauren has a six-month-old daughter named Grace. Josie is attending the University of Alabama and is home a few times a year.

“Lauren is a really good mom; she loves kids and is in early childhood education. They are all mainstream now – you’d never know there was something ever wrong with them,” Scott says. 

“They have outgrown a lot of their major issues. Lauren still has hydrocephalus but it is controlled; Kyle still has CP but it is controlled,” he says. “They have had great teachers who were very supportive. Everything they do, they do to their very best. They just push themselves harder and farther,” Scott attests.

Employed with Airnet for six years, Scott is the chief operations officer.

“I have tremendous respect for Airnet. Jeff gave Kyle an opportunity to work in tech support. He felt that Kyle could learn hands and they ended up hiring him,” Scott says.

“Our company worked with the Republican Party recently and set up Smart Call centers. We also do that for the YMCA. We are processing more information than any of the larger well-known technology companies. Airnet deploys about 400 call centers around the country. Smart Call Center is tied to our Smart Communicator; all this technology works together,” Scott states.

He has been a board member of the YMCA for 10 years. The YMCA benefitted from Airnet setting up a Smart Call center for fundraising.

“We had nine volunteers here making a couple of thousand phone calls, trying to raise money for the Strong Kids campaign which I was chairman of,” Scott says. 

Though the Rix family has had their share of uphill challenges, each one of them has the heart to serve and give back.

“We have been truly blessed and it has been a really good life.”

jen@jenjeffrey.com





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