Sharing Our Voices: The Story of Disability in Indiana

Uploaded by fifthfreedomindiana on 22.09.2011

[ Silence ]
[ Music ]
>> So good morning.
>> Good morning.
>> Could you tell us who you are and where you're from
and if you don't mind, how old you are?
>> My name is Orlan Holmes.
I lived in Fort Wayne for the last 25 years
or so and I'm 60 years old.
>> Wow! And we're gonna talk to you today
about community access.
So how do you find community access in the Fort Wayne area?
>> I find that in a lot of places it's not very good.
>> Okay.
>> There're a lot of things in this town
that really are not accessible for somebody that is
as mobility challenged as I am.
>> Are there places in town
that you do enjoy that are accessible?
>> Oh, there are a lot of places in town
that are-- that are descent.
I used to go to the Glenbrook quite a bit and they used
to have more handicapped parking until they put in all their--
their temporary pickup parking and then they cut
out half their handicapped parking.
So I don't go out there anymore either.
[ Laughter ]
>> You mentioned some of the activities that you're not able
to participate in because of accessibility.
Are there other things like voting that are a challenge?
>> Where I vote is its really easy
and I've not had any problem with.
>> Are there--
>> Which is good.
[ Laughter ]
>> Yes, that's-- yes.
Are there other activities that you'd like to participate
in that you're not able to because of accessibility?
>> I'd like to go downtown and participate more
in Three Rivers' activities down in the festival and some
of those, there is just not enough parking especially
for somebody that can't walk very far.
>> Okay. How do you feel-- ?
>> And I don't always have somebody that can take me.
>> Right.
>> And I don't like being dependent on anybody other than,
you know, a really close friend or a family
because I'd never know for sure, you know,
how long it's gonna be.
>> Is the-- how is the public transit?
>> I used to live in San Francisco.
In San Francisco, you can catch a bus standing where--
within two blocks.
Public transit here does not exist in my eyes,
any quality of air for me to go outside and try and catch a bus
and I wait a half an hour, it would be--
it would be a horrid trip for me.
>> Okay.
[ Laughter ]
>> And the steps, you know, are rough too
because I don't do steps very well.
>> How do you feel about local businesses and government?
Are they doing enough to integrate people
with disabilities into the community?
>> I think they think they are.
>> What tips would you give them?
>> I think they need to actually get out and talk to people
that are severely mobility challenged
or have other issues that-- that live this kind of life
and get some feedback from them as to what the real issues are
because the issues that they see aren't always accurate.
I mean every now and then I pull up to a restaurant
and their handicapped parking is clear around on the side,
away from the front door by 50, 60 feet and they've got parking
in front for non-handicapped parking.
Now granted they've got handicapped parking
but it's not-- for anybody that's mobility challenged it's
not friendly.
And there are silly things like this that I don't know
who was thinking, you know, but they just don't make sense.
Yeah, and put some thought into what you're doing
or get some input from somebody that these decisions effect
because what seems like a good idea isn't always.
>> Well thank you for being a part of this.
>> You're welcome.
Thank you for letting me be a part of it.
>> Okay, so if you don't mind, tell us your name
and the-- your community.
>> My community?
>> Yeah, so your name, where you live
and if you don't mind, your age.
>> Sure, I don't mind.
My name is Bill Bailey just like the song,
if you're old enough to remember it.
I live in Fort Wayne and I'm 58 years old.
>> And you said that you're new to this.
>> I became-- lost my leg in '08.
>> Okay.
>> In my wife's birthday.
>> Oh wow!
>> Yeah.
>> So you weren't quite sure what you wanted to talk about.
>> No, not really.
This is all new to me.
I don't know if it's normal for people new to prosthetics
but I kind of withdrew from the world after I lost my leg.
I kind of really had lost touch with everybody I knew,
worked with, that kind of thing, so I was kind
of forced into retirement.
And I'm just starting to come out--
>> So to speak.
>> So what made you come out here to this expo?
>> I recently became acquainted with a new prosthetics company
in town-- they're not new in town,
I switched prosthetic companies from the one I originally had
after I first lost my leg and then for different reasons went
to a different company and they are very big
into not only fitting you with the right leg
but doing different activities too.
They're very active with Turnstone.
They have kind of clinics they hold every three months
and then they're big in to this as well.
So I've gotten to know my prosthetist very well
and through him I'm hanging out.
>> Okay.
>> And enjoying it very much.
>> Now you mentioned you were kind of forced into retirement.
>> Yes.
>> And that you kind of retreated,
so how has your life changed?
>> It changed drastically.
I originally had a football injury in high school
that resulted in a total of 15 knee operations and one
of the last operations I caught a staph infection
and the staph infection damn near killed me.
And it was either lose the leg
or lose my life, it came down to that.
So after I lost the leg-- it's like losing a person.
It really is.
A part of you is gone.
And people at first, they kind of say "Hi, how are you?"
They still come around and then it all changes and then--
because you really don't really have anything
in common anymore with people.
>> You really don't have things in common with people anymore?
>> Not the people that I worked with no.
>> Okay.
>> Because I left-- I was a teacher
in the teaching profession and it just kind of just faded away.
And once you stop teaching it's--
I guess it's like being a cop, once you're not a cop anymore,
you don't have things in common
with those people anymore so you lose touch.
>> Okay. That makes sense.
>> Yeah, that's-- no different.
>> So have you found a support system now?
>> No, there's not one in Indiana, believe it or not.
In Northern Indiana, through the company that I've gone to,
this SRT, they have a guy that's part
of the three-month exhibitions they do that's trying
to start one, trying to gets a support group going.
There's really not one in town which I'm amazed
for the city this size.
>> Yeah. What's-- what benefits would you like to like--
to get out of having a support group and having that started?
>> Just hanging out with people that are missing limbs [laughs]
that know what it's like to-- what you go through, the pain,
the suffering, the phantom pains you have,
everything that-- that goes with loss.
>> And it really is.
It's a huge loss in your life.
You don't realize.
Just going home, how your household all
of a sudden isn't the friendly warm place it used to be,
it's now something to conquer.
>> So what things in and around Fort Wayne that you used
to do are now challenges because of-- your leg?
>> In my household I'm kind of the shopper.
I take care of the groceries, the cooking
and that kind of thing.
And grocery shopping was a huge challenge
to conquer again, to get back.
>> What specifically was challenging about it?
>> I started, I had those little carts they have
in the supermarket that people are driving in.
I discovered that people hate you in those carts.
>> Oh!
>> They do.
[Laughs] Because you're a pain
in the ass, you block the aisles.
So I wanted to get off of those carts as soon as I could.
So as soon as I got a leg, I stopped using the carts
and then people tend to be helpful when they're not asked.
People decided that because I'm a single leg,
they should empty my shopping cart for me at the check out.
It pisses the hell out of me.
[Laughter] 'Cause I mean why would you do that?
I want to do as much as I can the way it used to be.
As some things won't be, that is I mean I still need crutches
at night when I don't have the leg on and stuff but,
no I don't want-- I don't want that kind of help.
'Cause I don't look at myself as disabled, I just look at myself
as changed, that's all and then I have to adapt to that change.
>> So you're-- you were a teacher.
>> Yup.
>> And you're not a teacher anymore.
>> Nope.
>> And you alluded to the fact that that might be
because you were disabled?
>> Actually, yeah.
With the staph-- with my case,
it wasn't just the fact that I lost the leg.
The staph infection I had with it,
the amount of medications I was on, I was a coach as well,
I just couldn't-- I couldn't function at first
for the first few months and probably still can't
in a classroom setting or it's just--
there's too much involved as far as medications and things go
and how far I can go in a day and it's not the same.
>> So would you want to get back into teaching either
like on a part time or-- ?
>> Yes and no.
Yes is I enjoy the aspect of teaching another individual.
The no part is I don't wanna be back in the classroom
with administrations and that kind of stuff anymore.
And as I will volunteer and teach that way.
>> Okay. Is there anything positive?
>> Sure there is.
>> That's come out of this experience?
>> Yeah, I have met some wonderful people both disabled
and not.
I got involved with the ACA which is the National--
the Coalition for Amputees or something and through them,
through the University of Washington,
there is a program called TIPS, T-I-P-S
and what they do is they offer-- it's a pain management course
over the telephone from Washington and you get involved
with different people out at the University of Washington
and they send you a binder and do all kinds of things
and it's-- that was a great experience
and it helped me a great deal with things
like massage therapy, mirror therapy,
managing pain medication, how to talk to my physician,
how to talk to other people, family, that kind of thing.
So that was a great guidance that helped me the first--
second year I was an amputee.
>> What-- in terms of getting around town
and doing activities whether it's voting or a museum
or anything that interests you, what would you--
where would you say we need improvements?
>> Oh, most places now are accessible either through ramps
and things, any place that there is--
the older buildings and stuff, and you hate to make a case
for things like that because if a building is historical
like the court house say, and where there's a great deal
of steps and stuff which is--
is difficult for people with disability.
That's gonna be a thing that-- yes, people wanna come see it,
they wanna see the architecture, they wanna see the beauty of it.
But if you gotta change and destroy that beauty
to do it it's not worth it to me.
I mean, you know, it's either--
you have you to find a different way.
And so older buildings are always gonna be a problem,
the newer buildings, you don't have to worry
about they're all set up for the world.
And of course travel with the crack team
of people they have that-- from Homeland Security that--
we're not treated the same at the any airport
by these different people.
It's-- they need to standardize that just a little bit better.
[Laughs] It is very invasive.
[ Laughter ]
>> So tell me about a travel experience that you've had.
>> Well it's just that when you take this leg off,
it's not as simple as taking it off and then putting it back on.
You carry around a little bottle of rubbing alcohol
because it evaporate very quickly and it serves
as a lubricant for the sleeve to fit down inside the leg
because it's a suction, there's a ring that goes around
and it hold through suction.
So if you're in a place where they have this kind of--
it's not just airports, it's any like national buildings,
monuments, that kind of thing that--
where they have people take off their shoes, belts,
they can request that the leg comes off.
If it does and you don't
and they confiscate those little bottles right away 'cause
they're flammable, so now you're stuck with not being able
to get the leg really back on well.
And this-- and now it just-- it doesn't fit right, so that--
it's a terrible experience that way because now,
it doesn't fit right, you're doing this
when you walk, it's a pain.
So you just-- you stop going to places, you know,
you say to your family, "You guys go ahead,
I'm gonna sit this one out."
>> So what-- you said you're starting to get back out.
>> Yes.
>> Into life.
>> Uh-hmm.
>> What is the hardest part about that?
>> The silly-- not silly.
I guess there's no such thing as a stupid question but boy,
it seems like people come up with some doozy sometimes.
Some parents feel compelled to bring their children
over to look at it, to examine it, to you know,
dog and pony show for 'em, without asking.
And then other people will come up and ask blatant questions,
you know, "Did you step on a landmine?"
You know, "Did you get a shot off?"
"No, I had a staph infection."
And its "Oh well that's boring."
and walk away.
[Laughs] So, getting past that without being angry,
just slowing down your life to getting around and-- you can't--
the pace is slower, it's not as easy.
It's learning to walk and do again in this, and it's--
I hate to say baby steps, but it is, its baby step at first
and you grow from there.
>> What haven't I asked you that you wanted to talk about?
>> Nothing, just that we're the same we were before,
we're just slower.
[Laughs] I mean it's-- I don't know how else to put it
and it's-- if there is a question that people have,
you know, by all means do ask but be sensitive
about how you ask and when you ask, that's all.
>> So can we start with your name and where you live?
>> My name is Josanne [phonetic] I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
>> And if you don't mind sharing with us how old you are.
>> I'm 18 years old.
>> Okay and you wanted to talk about having autism.
>> Yes, autism, I basically like to say it's a very,
very enjoyable psychological condition.
It's kind of like having like a moving theater in your head.
It's basically like being able
to watch TV all the time in your head.
It's like having like your own television shows
in your head that you can control.
It's basically very, very interesting.
It's just like watching TV only you can control everything
that happens.
>> Can you tell me a little bit about school and going
through school with autism and--
>> What's kind of hard because like it's kind of like hard
because like sometimes the subject can be boring you just
wanna turn on the movie on your head?
>> Sometimes you need to run off a little bit of energy anyway
because like sometimes there needs to be energy
that needs to be burned off.
But you see if you restrain all the time you'll then--
I would probably go crazy if I had to restrain all the time.
So I have a little bit of time, sometimes if--
and sometimes, I'm not-- this isn't as bad as it used to be.
But sometimes things can be a little bit too loud.
I'm very, very sensitive to sound.
When I was in elementary school whenever we had assemblies I
used to cry because-- because it use to be so loud, but--
but it's not as bad as it used to be but sometimes I have
to leave like-- -
like auditoriums because it'll be too loud.
Like recently in theater class they were doing hammering,
like they were hamming in something and were kind
of [inaudible] I need to go and like he said "Okay."
They are very understanding.
And I'm very, very good friends with the staff not because I get
in trouble but I'm very, very-- I'm very, very interested.
And a lot of kids [inaudible] interesting thing
about autism is you're able
to remember things very, very detailed.
I guess that's because you're thinking of pictures
or whatever, it's like very, very interesting.
I'm probably the only one in school who actually--
I'm dead serious, I'm not bragging
but I can actually explain how gravity is related
to space and time.
>> Oh wow.
>> And I can explain it if you want.
>> Sure.
>> Okay, well planets are like this.
So planet-- oh, a planet is like say my shirt is my--
my coat is space and time.
>> Okay.
>> And say there's a planet, its-- right, this, right here.
That planet is gonna create a dent around it.
So anything that's traveling around is pulled into that dent.
>> Oh.
>> So that gravity is hypothetically a dent
in space in time.
Isn't that interesting?
>> That is.
>> You understand that right?
>> I do. It's actually probably the first time I've
understood that.
>> Yeah, it's very, very easy understanding
if you read a lot of stuff about it.
Also I know that-- and also it's very, very interesting,
I like to remember movie lines entirely.
For instance, for instance I can remember an entire movie just
by watching it two times.
>> Oh wow.
>> Yeah, it's very, very close.
Sometimes I remember and-- I remember stuff from my childhood
and my dad was like, "How do you remember that?"
Autism can sometimes be troubling
because sometimes I'm not as bad as I used to be,
but sometimes you speak out what's the first thing
in your mind depending on what's the situation
and it's appropriate.
Sometime people-- people are very understanding.
I have a lot, a lot of friends at school and they're very,
very supportive of me and they appreciate me and they--
I think, I think it's because with autism, I'm sort of kept
as a little bit of a child like innocence with me.
>> So are you preparing-- what level in school are you at?
>> Well actually I'm a senior.
>> Okay.
>> And I'm doing very, very well.
I got C's and B's right now.
So it's not too bad.
>> Good job.
>> I'm going to college.
I'm going to Saint Francis I got accepted
at Saint Francis so I'm--
>> Congratulations!
>> And it's-- and is there anything else you wanna ask me?
>> Well I wanted to ask you about preparing for college.
Is there-- is that a little scary or-- ?
>> That is very, very scary.
I'm having to work with that and deal with that because it's kind
of little bit scary but I'm looking forward to it.
I'm a little bit scared but I guess
that everything in life is scary.
I was scared to go to high school.
I was scared to go to middle school but I went there anyway
and then after a while it was okay.
>> What's-- what have you had to do in terms of advocating
for yourself to make sure that in college you have the same--
you'll have the same kind of relationship that you do
with current teachers?
>> Well I just simply say I'm autistic
and it's much more easier--
I'm actually good at explaining what autism is like.
All the people then they think of autism,
they think of the rain man
but the rain man is just one form of autism.
>> Okay.
>> There are many different form of autism and one thing
about autistic people is they remember things very, very well.
Usually you can, you know, an autistic person is very,
very good at counting facts and figures and stuff like that.
But I really don't think autism is that bad.
Actually a lot of historical figures who are believed
to be considered autistic like Hans Christian Andersen,
Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton
and seriously there's a book called, Different Like Me:
A book of Autism and there's all these famous people.
The writer of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll,
his real name is Charles Dodgson and all these famous people
that you wouldn't even think about but they all believed
to consider to have autism.
And all of these brilliant minds and you have to find that book.
If you can find the book, it's called Different Like Me,
A Book of Autism, you'll run into all this list
of famous people who were believed to be autistic
or have been proven to be autistic.
>> So really you want--
>> I want, I want-- I want people to act--
I know autism, there is bad things about autism,
but I don't want people to just say autism is bad just
because there are a few bad things
but there actually is a lot of good things about it
like we can remember things very, very well,
that's a terrible [inaudible].
>> So we have-- I have to wrap this up,
do you have anything else that you want to say?
>> Autism, there are some things that are bad
but there are many gifts from it as well.
>> Okay. Well, let's start off, can you tell us your name
and the community you live in?
>> My name is Paul Dougherty [phonetic] and I live
in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
>> Okay, and would you mind telling us how old you are?
>> I am 61.
>> Okay and you said you are relatively new to this?
>> Yes I am.
>> So how long is relatively new?
>> Real quick, short version of the story,
left leg cut off below the knee December of '08.
Right leg lost above the knee in May of '09.
>> Okay.
>> Prior to my initial amputation I was a Window & Door
Service Technician for Window & Door Manufacturing Company
at Wisconsin that troubleshoot Window & Door Operating Systems
that will require heavy lifting, crawling up and down ladders
on the outside of three storey buildings or hanging outside
out of a window four storeys up in the middle
of downtown Chicago and, you know, I can't do that anymore,
I physically can not do that.
So I had-- I was laid off from that position.
Employment now, I'm not employed right now, now at this point
in my life I'd like to find a part time situation
that is a fun opportunity to go to.
Not necessarily 40 hours a week, something part time,
something that I could add my humor and personality
to the work force, to the people, other personalities.
Living on social security disability and a small pension
so I am a survivor and if I can find something that's part time
and fun then I'll jump into it or if I help other people
out like in the counseling part of it, sort of in ABA, fine.
>> What was maybe the most interesting observation you made
making a transition from such a physically demanding job
to how people react to you now?
And what would you like them
to know how they should handle reacting to you now?
>> Well, fortunately the friends I have--
obviously they're all jokesters
but on the other hand they don't cut me any slack
because of the personality, interaction,
the local libation institution that we frequent,
like your typical Archie Bunker type libation institution
or Cheers.
All my friends know me and know what I can do, what I can't do.
"Paul do you need help?"
My first response is "No, I don't need help."
But I've had to learn to ask for help,
rather than to be forcefully aggressive to the point,
I don't need help, I can do this.
"Do you need help?"
My response is "Yeah, if I fall down, pick me up."
Otherwise I'll try anything and figure out a way to accomplish
that objective so I can go on to the next level.
>> You mentioned your libation institution.
Did they have to make any adjustments for you to be
in a wheelchair,
'cause sometimes they're not the most accessible places?
>> Normally I walk in with crutches.
>> Okay.
>> I only use this for speed to get
around 'cause I'm a lot faster in this than I am walking.
>> Makes sense.
>> There are obstacles but every obstacle that I come across,
whether it's in the city or in my home, it's a matter--
in my mid, I scratch my head and figure
out how am I going to accomplish this?
>> What kind of support system do you have?
>> Friends.
>> Okay.
>> I have a lot of friends who visited me and have helped me
out when transition from the hospital to rehab hospital,
to back in my condominium, which is a two storey.
So I leave this leg, my full leg downstairs to be charged up.
I go up and down my stairs on my butt.
>> Okay.
>> One step at a time.
It's humorous.
I have no problem saying, how I get up and down the stairs.
>> Do you-- are you still able to be active
like with racquetball
and I forget what else you said you did?
>> Bicycling, I'm working on getting a tri-wheel recumbent--
>> Okay.
>> -- hand-powered cycle.
>> Oh wow!
>> Because it's evident that I don't have the power or ability
to ride a regular bicycle.
>> Okay.
>> But that's my next personal goal is
to get a recumbent trike hand-powered and get back
to riding in what's known as the Hilly Hundred out at Bloomington
which I've done eight times.
>> Oh wow!
>> But on a regular bicycle with regular legs.
Next time it's gonna be all different, a little bit more
of a challenge but that's what I want, that's what I'm gonna do.
>> Very good.
In terms of getting around Fort Wayne and doing things,
what challenges have you had to overcome?
Are there things that you used to be able
to do that you can't do?
>> That's two-- two or three part question
and let me answer the last part, is there anything I can't do?
>> Okay.
>> Things that I used to do, obstacles have come across,
curbs, 'cause there's not enough wheelchair access to get up,
I can't walk on crutches, I'm not very stable
yet since I'm still learning.
When I had the lower leg amputation, no problem,
I can walk around and you probably couldn't tell
the difference.
But adding the second leg
above the knee amputation is a lot of--
a lot more balance problems.
>> Is this the first kind of conference
like this that you've attended?
>> Yes.
>> And what made you come out today?
>> You know, selfishness,
looking for that three-wheel bicycle.
>> Okay.
>> Which I did find out at back
so it's been a successful conference for me in that alone.
I'm seeing other people around here that I know.
I've seen all kinds of people walk around here
with disabilities or physical challenges
and I don't see anybody who's down and out.
I have been held down and given assistance
by Indiana Vocational Rehab to pick up some--
like computer training that I was not used to doing before
about dealing with other agencies, I've not been
that actively involved, never really needed that yet.
>> Okay.
>> But I know there are potential agencies
and organizations out there that I'm not aware of yet.
But I am working with the VA Hospital as a veteran,
as a disable veteran to help get my trike.
>> Okay.
>> That's my goal, that's what I want, and I will get it somehow.
>> Can you tell us your name?
>> My name is W. Wagner.
>> And where do you live?
>> I live here in Fort Wayne.
>> Okay, and do you mind sharing, how old you are?
>> Wow, I am gonna be 45 this year, yeah.
>> Okay wow, you don't look like it.
>> Thanks.
[ Laughter ]
>> And who do you have with you?
>> I have Scarlet.
Scarlet is my assistance dog.
She's very helpful.
>> And how long have you had her?
>> About three years.
>> Okay, is she your first dog?
>> She is.
She is.
>> Okay. Sorry for going all over the place.
Which-- what has she been the most helpful with?
>> Well she knows about 70 commands, she came with 36
from Assistance Dogs of America in Swanton, Ohio.
>> Okay.
>> And they teach you in the training process on how
to train them to do additional tasks.
>> Okay.
>> So as I found that I needed more help, she was able
to learn how to do that through your training.
>> Oh wow!
And so you are here helping out of the expo today.
>> I am.
>> And what is it you think people can get from coming
to an event like this?
>> This is my second year in attendance,
I was also here last year and what I found
to be most beneficial is under one roof you can find
so many vendors that help people with disabilities.
And it's a great networking opportunity.
Also people with disabilities that I haven't seen
for many years have shown up and so it's a great opportunity
to catch up with them, to make future social plans
and things like that.
>> Oh wow!
So it's filling-- really filling a lot of needs, not just one.
>> Right, right.
>> Now you mentioned that you drive.
>> I do.
>> What do you drive?
>> I have a Dodge Caravan.
>> Okay and tell me a little bit
about getting around town driving?
>> Actually, it's fairly easy to get around town,
of course I was born and raised here so I--
you know, I've known Fort Wayne all of my life.
It's really not too difficult at all.
I guess in terms of driving the thing I find
to be most frustrating is that there's a lot of people
with disabled placards on their license plates
and in their-- or on their mirrors.
And so there're really not enough disabled parking spaces
often for the people that need them when they need them.
>> Okay.
>> So what happens in that case because I have a van with a lift
on the side, I need to take
up two parking spaces instead of just one.
>> Okay.
>> And then I also get look--
some stares from able-bodied people
that drive their vehicles like,
we need that space and you're taking it.
So I would think if there would be more handicapped parking
spaces for a lot or the doctors that are giving
out those placards that maybe shouldn't be giving them
as freely or tighten the reins a little bit,
it would make it easier for all of us.
>> Okay.
>> Some of the outside activities
like at Headwaters Park,
disabled parking is a premium there.
And you also travel quite a distance once you're outside
of your vehicle to the events.
So Headwaters Park activities I don't usually attend just
because of that as well as events
for Three Rivers Festival.
>> Okay.
>> And it's all related to the parking.
If parking could be made easier for us and more reliable,
because if I park in a handicap spot and there's an access aisle
with the diagonal line saying, don't park here
and somebody parks next to me, I can not get
in my vehicle until that car moves.
And that could be hours, you know?
>> Right.
>> And not many people feel comfortable handing the keys
to their car to a stranger saying, could you back this
up for me and please don't take it.
[ Laughter ]
>> And so it just creates an awkward situation.
>> What experiences have you had just out with able-bodied people
that you-- where they make you feel uncomfortable
that you wish they-- what do you wish they knew
so that they're not making you feel uncomfortable or-- ?
>> Right. Well, I would like to be treated just
as if I weren't a person with a disability
because in all aspects of my life I'm just as normal
as everybody else with the exception
of my physical limitations.
And if they have questions about those, feel free to ask
in a polite and respectful way.
Honestly, Scarlet has been a great bridge between myself
and my life and people's fears
and anxieties towards people with disabilities.
I was always a very social individual prior
to receiving Scarlet.
But what I find is that people start asking questions
about Scarlet or they relay a story about their life
with a dog of their own.
And then all of a sudden they find out answers to questions
that they knew they had but were afraid to ask
or maybe they didn't even have the question until I brought it
up and it just makes for a very comfortable conversation
in that way.
>> Okay, do you mind talking about work?
>> I could talk about work.
>> Okay. Do you currently work?
>> I do.
>> What do you do?
>> I work for Do it Best Corp.
>> Okay.
>> In their world headquarters and I work
in their eCommerce department.
>> Okay.
>> So I have all of the Do it Best Stores around the world,
obtain a website and maintain that, most of that.
>> And, throughout attaining that job, was there anything
in particular that you felt at a disadvantage for?
>> Well, you're always wondering or at least I'm always wondering
when I'm talking to another individual,
what perceptions do they have of a person with a disability.
I try to recognize them as quickly as I can,
not always able to do so.
But if I recognize them and am able to educate them
without making them feel uncomfortable
for thinking incorrectly about their assumption,
it's a better situation.
I think if a person with a disability comes
to an employment interview with the proper qualifications
and can present themselves well, if it is meant to be it will be
and if it's not meant to be even at the interview stage,
it's better for the two people
to part ways before it becomes an employment situation
and then it becomes a little more difficult.
Do it Best Corp has been very good to me over the years
and it's been a good situation for all of us.
>> Okay. Through-- not just specifically and Do it Best Corp
but throughout your working history, are there things
that employers have done
that made you feel uncomfortable and vice versa?
Are there things that they did really well?
>> Let me think about that, I've work for Do it Best Corp for--
this is my 13th year so it's been a while
since I've been interviewed for a job or anything like that.
>> Well I didn't-- I didn't want to put them on the hot spot.
>> Oh yeah.
>> Like if we're gonna talk
about negative stuff I don't want it to be
like Do it Best Corp is evil.
>> No, no.
>> So that's why I wanted-- I mean, I wanted it to be general.
>> Yeah I know, no I understand.
What I think-- some
of the situations I think is how usually
by the posture of the interviewer.
>> Uh-oh.
>> Initially.
[ Laughter ]
>> Not your posture but the interviewer.
If they kind of size me up from head to toe
or their facial expressions give it away as far
as they're not feeling real comfortable about this,
this situation then it's up to me
as the person being interviewed is that related
to the individual and they're uncomfortable or is
that a reflection of the entire company, or are they ready
to accept a person with the disability.
>> Oh wow.
How do you have that covered--
how do you start that conversation?
>> As to whether or not they're comfortable or uncomfortable?
>> Yeah, see okay.
Alright, let me preface this 'cause I tend
to be a pretty blunt person so like
if it were me I think I'd be
like so let's have a conversation about this.
[ Laughter ]
>> Okay.
>> But does that-- does that work?
>> Well it might and it depends on one--
how interested I would be in that particular job, you know,
do I really want that job and am I willing to make the sacrifices
that might be needed because the person
or company is not comfortable with my disability.
Or have I in my head already decided that, you know,
they are too far from acceptance for me to feel comfortable here
and in a in that latter situation,
I would be much more confrontational.
[ Laughter ]
>> Because in my mind I have already decided
that if they offer me a job I'm going to decline because I don't
like the work environment and so I would be a little more blunt
and say, "You know, how comfortable are you
with a person with a disability?"
And most of the time they say "Oh that would be no problem."
But they would not make eye contact with me at the time
because they are on the spot now
and they're feeling uncomfortable.
But giving them the benefit of the doubt that they're willing
to make the effort to become more comfortable.
>> Okay.
>> So kind of complementing them without criticizing them.
>> Okay, I like that.
[ Laughter ]
>> Yeah, please.
>> We have just a few more minutes so,
could you tell me a little bit about your involvement
in civic activities like voting or using the library
and if there are things in the community, well you've kind
of touched on things that you might like to participate
that you can't like Three Rivers.
But are there other things that you can think
of that you do participate in because you would like to
and because they're accessible?
>> I do a lot with the organization called Turnstone,
I'm on their board.
So I help in that capacity.
I just don't participate as a client in their fitness program
and they're wheelchair sports, I play wheelchair tennis.
>> Okay.
>> For them.
So I really-- and I also do wheelchair fencing.
>> Oh wow!
>> I forgot about fencing
because it has been a little bit.
So, I really enjoy those activities.
I'm always involved in the community
where there would be like, some of it for exercise.
During the day I'm using my mind and my hands and stuff.
But my legs don't get a lot of exercise so I swim
in the evenings and play the sports and things.
So I do those things.
As far as other community involvement,
I love to visit the civic
and attend their plays and their programs.
It's a nice relaxing thing for Scarlet and I to do together.
I enjoy movies and I'm at the mall--
just anything, anybody else would do
in the Fort Wayne community.
>> Okay.
>> I'm okay with that.
>> Alright.
>> Alright.
>> Do you want to talk about dating or anything like that?
>> Nah, that's boring.
>> Okay.
[ Laughter ]
>> They told me at some point they want to get
into that with the interviews.
I'm like not really comfortable with that.
>> No. Well we can, honestly we can that's no problem.
I've dated able-bodied people, I've dated people
with disabilities and in both situations each person brings a
different set to the relationship.
So it doesn't really matter to me if the person is able-bodied
or disabled, it's their whole package and what they bring
to the relationship that matters to me.
So, the only big difference I found was people with disability
and people without obvious disability is
that the able-bodied person doesn't know enough
about a disability sometimes or at least in my experiences
to make it a comfortable relationship.
I had a situation one time where someone didn't want
to date me anymore because my van
at the time took three minutes according to every manual
that I read for the lift to unfold and to fold back up
and the door to close and me to transfer from my seat
to the driver seat, he didn't want
to wait those three minutes everyday.
And I've dated, you know, people for anywhere
from three years to-- at the high end to, you know,
couple of months or couple days at the other end.
>> Okay.
>> It doesn't really--
disability doesn't make the situation.
>> Okay.
>> Alright, I love that answer.
>> Okay.
>> Mostly because I-- this is all very new to me
and everything just seems just like me.
>> Yup, just normal.
>> And I don't want to use that word.
>> Yeah.
[ Laughter ]
>> But I mean it just-- it seems like you're thinking
about all the same things that I am.
>> Everybody else would.
>> Yeah.
>> When you're born with it a lot of the emotional issues
that come along with the physical disability are dealt
with throughout a person's lifetime.
So yes, I still get frustrated.
Yes, I'm still angry sometimes at the situation.
But most of the time I choose that I only have one life
to live and I choose to live to the fullest.
Where if you required a disability you're still the same
person inside that you were the day before
but now you have other issues to deal with
and society doesn't stop for somebody
to deal with their issues.
You have to figure out how to integrate them
in to everyday life, so it's a little more challenging I think
to acquire a disability than to be born and raised with it.
>> That's a very interesting perspective, I like it.
[ Laughter ]
>> Yeah, hopefully that was within your timeframe.
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah, thank you very much.
>> Okay. You're welcome.
>> Okay, my name is Bob O'Dell [phonetic].
I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I'm originally from Lansing, Michigan
and I'll be 64 years old in September.
>> And you are retired from?
>> Verizon.
>> Oh okay, I thought you said GM.
>> That's-- that's where I originally applied for a job.
>> Oh, okay.
>> Many years ago, many, many years ago.
>> So do you want to start with your story about trying
to find a job or do you want to start with your story
about getting through college?
>> Well I can start with my story
through getting through college.
>> Okay.
>> Okay, well I'll give you--
I'll give you a little background.
I'm post polio from 1949
and I have residual paralysis from that.
And over the years I've gotten weaker.
I went to Michigan State University
and I had difficulty there with getting around campus.
They allowed me to have one parking space so I had to walk
around the campus and there were almost 40,000 students
at that time and it was very difficult.
>> And so you ended upon taking how long for you to get through?
>> It took five years to get my bachelor's degree.
It took three years to do the first two years and then
when I got into engineering, everything was located--
most everything was in the engineering building
and it was easier to get around.
I did that-- all that in two years.
>> Okay, and then did you go immediately to get your masters?
>> Yeah I went right immediately to get my masters
and that took me about 15 months.
>> What's your master's in?
>> Well my bachelor's and master's are both
in electrical engineering and I was a grad assistant too.
I was a quarter time teaching assistant
and a quarter time research assistant and I did research
under my professor who was assisting the Department
of Entomology and they were doing research
on the [inaudible] beetle and I designed
and built a leak damage estimator that they used
in the research, the entomology department used my research
and this is back in 1972.
>> Did you have any problems with any of your professors
in regards to your disability
or was it strictly the university and their-- ?
>> There was just the university with the lack
of facilities for the handicap.
Well I'm from Lansing, Michigan and General Motors was there
and they made automobiles in Lansing.
And at that time, automobile was third in sales
so they were expanding their production of automobiles
and they had ads in the newspaper
for electrical engineers.
So at the same time, the United Auto Workers were on strike.
So I had my mom drive me down to the employment office
and there were no picketers there.
And I went inside the building
for the Human Resources Department and which I had to go
down steps to get to there.
And I got an application and the man took my name
and phone number and I went back out, my mom drove me home.
And when I got home, went just inside the door, the man called
and said he's checked with Fisher Body division in Detroit
and that they would not be able to hire me
because of my disability because they were afraid I was an
insurance risk and I would injure myself
and so they would not give me an interview or consider hiring me.
>> So they flat out and told you why.
>> Told me no, they wouldn't consider hiring me.
>> Is this before or after your disabilities laws?
>> Well, there wasn't a dis--
there weren't a whole lot of disability laws then.
The Olsmobile was looking for electrical engineers
so I have my mom drive me down because my mobility was kind
of limited and I didn't know where I was gonna park.
So I went down and I went in and there was bunch
of other young men there my age
that were going to be interviewed.
And I walked in and the human resources person
who didn't even ask my name or shake--
shook my hand, looked at me and asked me if I would sit there
and then he took the rest for the job candidates
into the factory for interviews.
And I waited there for maybe an hour, hour and a half
and he came back and took me into his office and told me
that he would not be able to hire me
because of my disability.
And so my father who was very upset called the Governor's
Commission on Employment of Handicapped
since we live in Lansing.
And there was a human-- there was a person from Olsmobile
that was on that committee and there was also a person
from General Telephone in Muskegon,
Michigan was on the committee.
Well they-- they brought me in and gave me a physical,
a very detailed physical
but I never did receive an interview for that.
>> And in the meantime I was trying to seek employment,
I applied at Michigan State University
to do my master's degree in electrical engineering
and so I was taking classes and I got a call one day and--
at my office at the College of Engineering and they--
a person from General Telephone invited me up for an interview.
And I went up there and interviewed, I came back home
and then a week later or so they offered me a job
and invited me back up and I filled out all the paper work
and they sent me down to the company doctor
for General Telephone at Michigan,
and the doctor looked me over and he brought me back
into his office and said, "I will approve you for a desk job,
but you're an accident ready
to happen" is what he referred to me as.
And a couple of years in between I left GTE from Fort Wayne
and went to the Detroit area
and General Motors had bought Electronic Data Systems,
EDS from Ross Perot and they were doing all their
data processing.
Well it turned out my dad asked me to send a resume
and he took it to Olsmobile in Lansing and my resume ended
up down at Electronic Data Systems.
And I went up there for an interview
and I had a pretty good interview
until I mentioned the fact that I had some mobility issues
and the person interviewing me said "Just a minute."
And he walked out of the room and came back in
and the interview ended then.
And so I went back to Fort Wayne kind of not feeling too good
about it because this was 1986 and I'm still feeling the sting
of being discriminated against on the basis of disability.
And then lo and behold,
about two weeks later they invited me back
up for an interview and they offered me a position.
'Cause General Motors owned the company I ended up working
for General Motors and going in their factories
and installing electronic switching equipment.
So I did-- for two years I actually kind
of worked for General Motors.
>> Over that 31 years, what was the most marked best resolution
in terms of how employees handled disability?
>> Well they had the--
the Americans with Disability Act was in I think around 1990,
and I was at work and I belonged
to the Employee Good Government Club
which is you give money to it.
It's a political action committee and we give money
to political candidates and so forth.
And I'm sitting and reading the Good Government Bulletin
and they've got a little note in there that said, when companies
or parking slots are resurfaced, that the--
at that time that the state laws said that they were supposed
to bring them up to code to comply with the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
And I'm reading that and I'm watching--
looking out the window watching them resurface the parking lot
at General Telephone and they're not bringing it up to code.
So I didn't say anything
and then a few years later they did the same thing again and by
that time, it was after 1997 and I was on the internet.
So I went in and pulled out the handicapped parking regulation
and I gave it to the building maintenance people
on the human resources and they did bring the parking lot
up to standards with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
And that was the only thing they had done.
I forget what year that was.
And then later on, probably around 1999 or 2000,
there was always trouble on the building
with the elevators not working and sometimes you get in
and then you go down and inner door would open
and the outer door wouldn't
or sometimes they wouldn't work at all.
And one day the elevator-- one elevator wasn't working
and I saw the maintenance guy come in and he left
and the elevator still didn't work
and they were doing some remodeling
on the front steps of the building.
And they only had one disabled entrance.
So I wrote an e-mail to everybody I could think of,
building engineering, human resources, and I said what--
maybe you can make the front entrance wheelchair accessible
because I was in a wheelchair at that time and I also brought
up the fact that none of the restaurants have been brought
up to the Americans with Disability Act.
And they didn't do the front end of the building
but they did bring the building up to code two years later
and they put an electric door in and then they--
they had a men's and women's restroom
on each floor was brought out to standard with the ADA.
So that did improve but I always had to ask for things,
they just didn't go in and do things.
>> Is there anything I haven't asked you
that you'd like to talk about?
>> Well just right now, I've been retired for 8 years
but I still volunteer.
I volunteer at the Catholic radio station here
in Fort Wayne, doing production work preparing local programming
and I'm active in the church, Knights of the Columbus
so I still do things for people on those lines
so I try to remain active.
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> I did wanna ask you about that because I grew up Catholic
and I know that Catholic charities is a very large
resource for a lot of people.
Has that-- how have you found the Catholic community to be?
>> They can improve their handicapped parking a lot
better, that's one thing.
>> Alright.
>> They are improving it, but the restrooms they are improving
but it's a slow process.
>> Okay.
>> But everything is better than it was,
you know, 30, 40 years ago.
>> Yeah, so can you tell us your name?
>> My name is Kevin Hughes [phonetic].
>> And where do you live?
>> Right here in Fort Wayne.
>> Okay and do you mind sharing with us how old you are?
>> 26.
>> 26 and you work for Turnstone, is that right?
>> Yes, I'm one of the sports
and recreation coordinators there.
>> Okay, so I've heard that you're an athlete.
>> I compete in a few sports.
I-- in the summer I like to do tennis
and push my chair a lot doing--
I'm training for the Fort 4 Fitness.
>> Okay.
>> Doing the half marathon so there are 13.1 miles.
I-- right now, I haven't done any other races
but it's the whole training leading up to it's a blast.
>> What does training entail for you?
>> Training starts off this time of the year,
I'll do about four miles, twice a week, just to kind
of get going and then as the weeks progress, going closer
to it, I'll get closer to the 13 miles,
I'll probably do the 13 miles probably the last three weeks
up to the training and then pretty much when I get
to the actual race, it's a breeze.
I mean, it's smooth, I mean all the training going
into it makes it so much easier
and then obviously the environment, the people there,
the, you know, the live bands that are playing,
the people outside from their houses, you know, watching
and cheering you on, so I'd like to get
around the 8-minute mile mark and be able to be meet
for of a faster pace so we'll see how it goes.
>> You'll beat me.
>> Yes.
>> I can't do this [inaudible] anymore.
>> Yes.
>> And last year, I did the 4 miler and I averaged at 11:20.
>> Yeah? We all have different goals, right?
[ Laughter ]
>> We all have different goals.
In the winter, I play sled hockey and I grew
up in a hockey family, it's kind of a natural fit.
I just love the sport, love being on the ice.
I mean, one thing I love
about this all adaptive sports is it's the same sport.
If anybody's watching, you know, wheelchair basketball, hockey,
watching somebody ski or whatever,
it looks the exact same.
The only difference is, is that you have, you know,
equipment underneath you.
Instead of using your legs, you got some wheels
to kind of propel yourself.
So, but other than that the rules are the same,
the environment's the same, the location, like a basketball,
you still got 10 foot, everything is the same setup.
And that's really what I like,
I like doing things everybody else is doing just I guess
in different way without using your legs.
>> So tell us how you came to Turnstone.
>> Okay, actually I started at Turnstone for pre-school.
Went there back then for pre-school, I received therapy,
speech therapy, occupational therapy,
physical therapy growing up through.
And then in elementary school, they had a couple
of different programs during the weekend called--
there's one called Winners on Wheels and that was kind
of like a boy scout, girl scout, it was, you know, coed,
a lot of fun, having a good time with my friends.
Kind of going from there they did later--
they had after school programs
where they had six-week different sports.
They had soccer, baseball, football,
hockey and so did that growing up.
And then in 5th grade, it was when they were starting
to get a little bit more into the competitive sports
and wheelchair basketball was their kind
of first one for the juniors.
They had only had it for the adults.
It started back in '89 and then for the youth, I think this was
like in '94 or '95 range, I think kind of got--
belonged with the juniors.
I was one of the first players, a lot of fun.
Finally in '98, we went to our first tournament,
got killed had a blast but, you know,
that was the stepping ground that we understood that we had
to go through and plus we weren't all, you know,
we were playing against high school kids for the most part
so it was quite the-- quite the defeat.
But a lot of fun there and-- the question was, how did I get
to Turnstone or how did I continue in Turnstone.
I went on to college, when I was
in college I still volunteered at Turnstone.
I helped start their 8 to 12 year old basketball team
because it was like--
individuals like myself when we started the team we kind
of grew up-- the team kind of grew up with us
and so we had a high school team.
>> But we had these younger kids that were just--
they couldn't really play at the high school level, kind of like
when we first started we couldn't play
at the high school level.
So we split and we had two teams and I started coaching
that team as a volunteer.
When I was college, I got that going.
And then as well with that when I was going
to college during the tail end of my college I got internship
over at the LEAP for the blind and disabled.
I did that for 6 months and very fortunately their youth service
position came available and they hired me onboard.
It was six months over that.
Did that for 4 years, and during the same time I was still
volunteering with Turnstone.
I was still involved, active
but I had the full time job over at the league.
And then, you know, with everything kind of grown
at Turnstone they needed to add a second person
to oversee the Sports and Recreation Program.
And they called up my employer over at the league
and said "You know what?
We know-- we know you guys love Kevin
but we really want him in this area.
I mean can we interview him?"
It was really nice.
I was able to leave on good terms and go
to a place that I fully enjoy.
I mean I fully enjoyed everything at the league
but to go to a place I grew up in I felt like, you know,
I've been a part of the whole building process
of this sport program to be able to take it to the next level
where we have over 130 athletes that are competing
at paralympic level, at the highest level,
all the way to just direct social type of level.
One thing I love about what we're doing right now
with Turnstone is we're doing so many more social opportunities.
So many, we have like a team night.
We're doing different poker nights and all kinds
of different kind of fun events.
It's kinda, you know, and then some of them wanna take it
to the next level and give more credit in sports.
Some of them just wanna, just socialize.
>> What can they do as a work environment
to improve how they treat their workers
who happen to have disabilities?
>> Well, I was very unfortunate.
Both environments I was in they--
their mission is to serve individuals with disability,
so hiring someone with a disability it-- the environment,
I don't even really think
about the whole not being able to walk.
It's such a natural part of my everyday whether it's
at work or outside of work.
It's just-- it doesn't even come up to me at least.
And so making accommodations, you know,
all I need to do is raise my voice saying "Hey, you know,
this desk is too high, can we lower this?"
Or, you know, I'm in the supply closet
and I can't reach you know, X file,
you know is there a way we can learn this
or can you just get it for me, you know?
One thing I know a lot
of individuals are afraid to ask questions.
And as an individual
with a disability I can be my own advocate.
I have to be out there talking,
communicating what my wants and needs are.
If I don't who's gonna do it for me?
And it's one of those things you gotta really just, you know,
own up and go, "Okay, this is what I need help with."
So the importers I've had had been great, no problems at all.
I do remember I did an interview with a company
and actually I got offered the job but I turned it down just
because the way the interview went.
They were really trying to--
it almost seemed like they were trying to be too creative
to think of ways why I couldn't do the job.
It was a data entry job.
So just computer data entering,
I can type 65 words a minute, so not a big deal.
And they were asking me questions like "Well,
if you have to lift up a 50-pound box, you know,
over to this location, you know, could you do that?"
And I said "Yeah, I'll be happy, I could show you today
if you want me to do it."
And actually I showed them, you know,
except I don't think it was 50 pounds
but it was something like that.
And it's just-- it was certain question like that
like do I really wanna be in this environment?
I mean, now if I was, you know,
searching for a job now I probably would take it.
But that was when I was still in college,
didn't really need the job, you know, I could pass on it.
But I probably just kind of suck it in and go, "Okay I need it.
I'll go for it."
But, you know, stuff like that I've seen
but to me that's minor, that's something you can work through.
It's probably more of their understanding,
they just don't know.
And so, I don't try to do this and throw
that in their face every single time.
We can move on and learn and grow together.
So I have been fortunate.
And a lot of people around me have been really fortunate
but I think it's because of their attitude,
they approach it.
If you approach it with a good attitude,
if you communicate what your wants
and needs are you're likely gonna be in a better situation.
>> If you could talk a little bit,
you said that you don't really have problems getting anywhere
that you need to get there.
But are there places in and around Fort Wayne
or like even travel destinations that are not accessible
that you would-- things that you just wish you could do but--
and what could be changed so that
if you wished it you could just go do it?
>> You know, one thing that would be really neat,
and I know there're a lot of individuals who go
from Fort Wayne to Chicago.
Especially to Chicago for like the Shriners Hospital
or other kind of-- there's a lot of stuff going on in Chicago,
it's the big city around here.
It'd be nice if we really had a train that went
from here to over there.
And that's something that's just for the disability community.
A lot of people would love to have to commute instead of going
up north couple of hours and then hopping
on a train from there.
So I know that would be huge if we had something like that.
I mean we have-- we have Citilink here that has--
sort of like an access bus where it has a lift
and goes curb to curb.
Problem is, I've been told, I don't usually link myself
but I've been told there are certainly areas
within Allen County it doesn't go to.
Kind of the rural areas so, you know,
that's obviously a barrier.
You know, what's the solution?
Luckily I'm not in those shoes but--
but I know that is a barrier that comes up from time to time.
>> What other types of events
like this do you participate in just for yourself?
>> Outside of work?
[ Laughter ]
>> Yeah. That's okay if the answer's none.
In fact I--
>> I have-- I've never-- I never attended one
of these things-- how's it going?
>> Good.
>> On this personal level.
You know, like for-- I don't know, this is kind of personal
but I mean like when I go to sporting events a lot
of times it will have like different vendors and stuff
with adapted technology, the latest, you know, sports chairs
and equipment and stuff like that.
So I see a lot of that.
And it's kind of similar to this.
Not as many break out sessions where you have opportunity
to do hands on learning, how to dance in a chair
or with the fashion show,
I mean those are really cool things that--
climbing a rock wall.
I mean those are the things I've not seen before.
>> Did you climb the rock wall?
>> I haven't, I haven't.
If I have time I might go over there later
but I've been circling doing all over the place,
I haven't had an opportunity to go
over there, so but I-- hopefully.
You know, attitude is huge,
I feel my opportunities have come not just because I'm lucky
but in ways because I've kept the positive spirit.
And I know so many people,
it doesn't matter what your background is,
what your history is, if you approach life
with a more positive attitude, you're gonna go far,
you're gonna go much farther than what you can imagine.
So keep your head up, have good times, and the world
around you will absorb and embrace it.
>> Excellent.
Thank you.
>> Well, thank you.
>> And can you tell us who you are?
>> Barbara Geiger [phonetic].
>> And where are you from?
>> Fort Wayne.
>> And do you mind sharing with us how old you are?
>> 73.
>> 73, are you retired?
>> Oh yeah.
Doctors made me retire when I was 54.
>> So what did you do?
>> I was a nurse aid.
>> You were a nurse aid.
>> For 22 years.
>> Tell us about being a nurse aid.
>> I miss it very much, I love taking care
of people I either took care of kids or I took care of seniors.
That's-- that was my two favorite spots.
>> Okay.
>> It was before the wheelchair.
>> Okay.
>> And then when I turned 54 the doctor told me I had
to give it up.
>> Okay. So tell us about life after retirement.
>> Well, I tried working as a receptionist for my brother
who ran a company and I did that for 8 years.
>> Oh wow!
>> And the doctor said "No, you can't do that either."
So I have to just give up altogether.
>> Okay.
>> And you have told me that you're pretty active.
Tell us some of the things that you do.
>> Oh yeah.
Well I go to Turnstone and I do ceramics and I go bowling
with them and I do the Olympics every year.
>> What's your sport or sports?
>> Well I did all kinds of them.
>> Okay.
>> I did archery, softball,
sit down volleyball and been swimming.
It's just a great place to go.
You just, you know, you-- it just makes you feel good.
>> How did you find Turnstone?
>> Evidently, now this is-- I don't know.
Evidently my doctor had called them unbeknownst to me.
The social worker showed up at my door one day.
And me I was very down.
I didn't want to talk to nobody, didn't wanna be bothered
and I wouldn't answered the door.
She wouldn't leave.
She stood there banging on my door for 3 or 4 hours.
She refused to leave.
She kept hollering and she is not leaving 'til I talked
to her.
So I got mad and I threw the door opened and I said "What
in the-- do you want?"
[ Laughter ]
>> And she said "I need to talk to you, your doctor sent me."
And she told me where she was from and what it was all about,
I said "Get out of here, I don't want nothin' to do with it."
>> She said "There will be a van here for you Monday
and he will not leave 'til you get on it."
She was right.
>> So what was your first trip Turnstone like?
Since you didn't want to go?
>> Terrible.
I wouldn't talk to anybody.
They wanted me to introduce myself.
I said "No."
And I went clear on the other side of the room and sat there
and wouldn't talk to nobody.
If somebody would come over to me I'd tell them
"Get out of my face."
>> So what were you mad about?
>> I really don't know.
But I didn't wanna-- I didn't want to be bothered
and truthfully I didn't want to be alive.
>> So what was the turning point?
What changed?
>> Turnstone.
They didn't give up on me.
They wouldn't leave me alone.
What would were you gonna do?
[ Laughter ]
>> But I thank them everyday for it.
>> And how long have you've been going?
>> This is 19th year.
>> Did they make you come here today?
>> No.
>> What made you come today?
>> Ceramics.
>> Okay, do you have items displayed?
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> Okay. We'll have to go over and look.
I can't see from-- I can't see there from here.
[ Laughter ]
>> Yeah, I did the [inaudible].
>> Okay, and what have you gotten out of today?
What's been the best part of today?
>> Oh gosh.
I don't know I just love it all.
I really do.
I love to stop and talk with people.
>> You've known a lot of people here today haven't you?
>> Oh yeah, yeah 'cause I go
to all the health fairs and then this.
And they've got about the same people.
The people I get my chair from, they're here.
My hearing aid people are here.
People I get my shoes are here.
So yeah I know a lot of them.
>> Okay. And what am I not asking you
that I should be asking you?
[ Laughter ]
>> I don't know.
I think we're doing pretty good.
>> Alright.
[ Laughter ]
>> No I'd tell you, anybody that needs help whether they're
in a wheelchair or whatever,
Turnstone is the best place you can go
and the people are fantastic
and they really turn your life around.
I'm not kidding.
They're fabulous.
>> So you've been going there for 19 years.
>> And now in the last I'd say maybe 5 years they had this
thing going that every year they would ask the oldest ones
"Would you like to graduate?"
Which means you've got to leave and I finally told them I said
"Don't ever ask me again if I wanna graduate.
I will never leave here.
I don't care what.
I'm not graduating."
>> You dragged me into this place so I'm not leaving now.
>> That's what I told to my social worker.
You wanted me here you got me I'm staying.
And they haven't asked me since.
>> Good.
[ Laughter ]
>> But when I first started I was going three days a week
because I just had my knee replaced
and I was there for therapy.
But now I just go once a week.
I wish I could go more.
>> Are there things that you would like to do
that are not accessible to you?
>> Well, I don't think so.
I mean I go bowling.
I love to bowl and Turnstone does that with me.
>> Okay.
>> In fact we've got a lot of it coming up this summer.
>> What's your highest score?
>> Not very much.
[ Laughter ]
>> I can only score about 45 so--
>> Oh no, mine's higher than that.
I think my last one was 120.
>> Oh wow!
That's really good.
>> I have to use a ramp.
I tried it without one and it didn't work.
I almost went out of my chair with the ball.
>> Did you climb the rock wall?
>> No, I don't dare do that.
>> You and Bob were talking about that though right?
>> Yeah, he did it but I-- no, I don't dare.
My hands and arms wouldn't hold it.
>> Okay.
>> Neither would my legs.
This leg don't bend, that foot don't bend.
[Laughter] I better stay on the ground.
Just don't give up.
I don't care what's wrong with you, don't give up.
Keep your smile on your face 'cause it's always gonna be
better somewhere.
I don't give up on anything.
If I wanna do something I'll try it.
I won't give it up.
I'll keep going.
[ Laughter ]
>> I am. I'm just a happy go lucky person, you know?
There's no use to cry about it.
>> But you didn't always feel that way.
>> No. I didn't.
>> And Turnstone--
>> Turnstone made me that way.
They taught me more than anybody ever could.
>> You've been through two moms?
>> Pardon.
>> You said you've been through two moms?
>> Well, I never knew my real mother
but my foster mother, yes.
That hurt.
She was pride and joy.
She had a foster home for 17 years.
>> Oh wow!
>> She had one son of her own.
He was 9 month olds when I went to live with them.
>> Oh wow!
>> So he's just like my brother.
Yeah, you don't find foster homes like that anymore.
That was a fabulous place to be and I had a wonderful mother.
I sent her name in to channel 15
and the newspaper voting her mother of the year
and she won both of them.
[ Laughter ]
>> It sounds like she deserves it.
>> She did and more.
There are good people in this world you just got to know them.
>> You found them out.
>> That's right.
And its people that you wouldn't even think of, very true.
[ Pause ]
[ Music ]