Jay Bartlow, 24-Year Resident at Monticello Vista Apartments, Tells His Story

Jay Bartlow Monticello Vista-Apartments
Jay Bartlow before a picture of his mother and other workers at the old shirt factory which hangs inside Monticello Vista Apartments

Jay Bartlow grew up with an avid love of motorcycles.  Born and raised in Charlottesville, Jay has strong roots in the community. He came from a large family consisting of eight brothers and two sisters.  Jay started riding motorcycles when he was very young and eventually switched from motocross to road racing. While still a novice, he went to see a good friend perform a stunt during a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Jay said that day always stuck in his mind as he watched his friend become paralyzed from the neck down after the stunt went wrong.  He left riding for about a year, but eventually returned to his passion.  In May of 1993, Jay travelled to Putnam Park, Indiana, to participate in an endurance race with this team, Virginia Breeze Racing.  Unfortunately, Jay suffered his own accident during that race, which left him paralyzed.

Jay returned to Woodrow Wilson hospital in Staunton, Va., where he spent several years doing rehabilitation and occupational therapy.  Once Jay got stronger, he planned to move in with his sister, but, at the last minute, that plan fell through and Jay was left desperately needing a place to live.  Jay’s occupational therapist, Mary Breister, did some research on housing options and found that there was very little affordable housing for people with disabilities. Fortunately, they did find Monticello Vista Apartments, an apartment complex in Charlottesville now owned and managed by Piedmont Housing Alliance.  In August of 1993, Jay moved in as one of Monticello Vista’s first residents and has lived there ever since.

Jay stays busy drafting plans for private homeowners as well as contractors, a skill he honed while at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center.  He had been working as a contractor prior to his accident, so it just came naturally to him.  Fortunately, Jay still has the ability to use part of his hands as well as lift himself up, but he does require help to get in and out of bed or the shower.  While Jay relies on support from the community and social security, he in turn provides support and inspiration to people around him. He learned to drive during rehab, despite his disbelief, and now owns a special van with hand controls, thanks to some help from a friend. The van enables him to run errands and shop for groceries.

Jay understands the dire shortage of affordable rental housing and the importance of Piedmont Housing Alliance creating, preserving, and managing more affordable housing.  We are so glad that he is able to take advantage of living in Monticello Vista Apartments and we hope he continues to enjoy his life there.

The building dates back to 1928 when it became Henderson & Ervin, a shirt and underwear factory and then later a pajama factory where, ironically, Jay’s mother worked for many years.  She worked there both before and after Jay was born until around 1967. “She’s my angel looking over me,” Jay said.

To learn more about Jay’s story, or to donate towards research to help cure paralysis, please see more here:  https://thewalkofdollars.com/jays-story.html

Also, please mark your calendars to watch Terri Allard’s, Charlottesville Inside Out on March 23rd where Mr. Bartlow will be featured in a segment dedicated to the work Piedmont Housing Alliance does throughout the community.