By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications
One of the things I’ve always appreciated is companies who strive to employ disabled persons. Not only does it directly impact the person that’s employed by giving them a chance to contribute, but it also shows me that a company has heart.
I’m sure some of it stems from growing up with a grandfather who’d lost both his legs in World War II when they were machine-gunned off by Germans in Tunisia in 1943 while he was a member of what would come to be known as Darby’s Rangers.
He lived nearly 40 more years, much of it with a scowl. He was not a happy man in a world that back then was not nearly so wheelchair-accessible (not that it’s a breeze now). To be quite frank, he was a grouch and pretty much liked no adults in a world that he felt had turned its back on him. Fortunately, he loved children — we thought his wheelchair was cool as he rode us around the house, doing wheelies until he ran out of breath or needed to fire up another Camel, two things that were obviously related.
More than 30 years after he passed away, I’ve gotten to know another fella in a wheelchair pretty well — Thad Harris. Thad’s a Fuller Center homeowner and volunteers and came by my office today to chat with Director of U.S. Field Operations Kirk Lyman-Barner about utilizing so-called disabled folks in our mission. I captured the conversation on video.
I’ll sum it up for you — Thad says “give us a chance.” Thad has been utterly transformed and empowered since being required to perform sweat equity in the building of his home and then deciding to volunteer with us. And by volunteer, I mean the man can’t find enough projects to tackle as he comes through here almost every single day. I’m sure there are some able-bodied volunteers out there somewhere who do just as much — I just haven’t met them yet.
Anyway, please check out this story and then watch the video below as Thad and Kirk chat: