Like most people who start in this field, I was personally involved due to a family member, my Uncle Larry. My Uncle Larry was one of the most charismatic people I knew. Not only was he a ladies man, he was the life of the party. I never knew he had a disability, because he did everything I did. He played basketball, baseball, ran track, bowled, cooked and danced. And I mean DANCED!!!!! We loved every Monday and Thursday night watching our favorite wrestlers go into the ring and plummet each other. We enjoyed County Dinner Dances together, reenacting Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We went to almost every Special Olympics even we could. This was the closest person I had to a brother.
It wasn’t until I became a little older and a kid in the neighborhood called my uncle some names that were very cruel. I was not a violent kid, but this made me angry and I got into my first fist fight that day. I lost that fight… but gained a perspective that most 9 year olds wouldn’t understand. Although I may not physically be capable of winning at everything but trying and fighting for the right reasons will always be worth it. Now I am not saying anyone should start a physical altercation to help, but this is what made me who I am. Oh…and by the way, when my uncle heard what happened, he just shook his head.
Through the years my Uncle Larry and I always stayed close. And when I turned 18 I began working with the Lucas County Board of DD. I would see him on a daily basis, and he would hug me like it was our last time seeing each other. Sadly in 2011 one of those hugs would be the last. Uncle Larry had passed away 45 years pass his expected life range. He will forever live in my heart and has been the number one driving force in my carrier decision and helped motivate me to being the best person I can be for this population of individuals.