STRONG IN WAR AND PEACE
FORD SPONSORS IRAQ VET IN TRIATHLON
When U.S. Army Major David Rozelle recently finished the Ford Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, he became the first war amputee to ever complete the grueling triathlon, which includes 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running.
Rozelle participated in the Hawaii Ironman thanks to co-sponsorship by Ford Motor Company’s Mobility Motoring, a program that helps people with disabilities get adaptive equipment installed on Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicles. The mobility division became Rozelle’s sponsor after the native Texan earned the Ford Everyday Hero award at the Ironman event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. There, the Iraq war veteran received a standing ovation.
“Earning the Everyday Hero award is definitely a highlight of my life,” Rozelle said.
Rozelle saluted as he crossed the finish line at the Ironman in Hawaii to honor and inspire other soldiers who have sustained debilitating injuries in combat. Rozelle lost his right foot to a land mine in Iraq in 2003, and later became the first amputee in modern military history to command in a war zone.
In his 2005 book Back in Action, Rozelle documented how his sports-based rehabilitation program–which included skiing, snowboarding, swimming, biking and eventually running with the aid of prosthetics–helped greatly to restore his motor function after his injury. Within a year of losing his foot he was competing in triathlons.
“Sports is a lifesaver,” Rozelle said. “I want to show other amputees what they can accomplish through hard work, determination and believing in themselves. It’s about setting goals and not giving up.”
Still active in the military as an administrator for the Amputee Care Center at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, Rozelle says, “It’s great when you see an amputee coming around the exercise track with a big smile on their face. You know there’s salvation in that.”
Rozelle also is a spokesperson for Disabled Sports USA’s Soldier’s Fund and for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Campaign of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for Children with Disabilities. In addition, he founded Operation Rebound, a Challenged Athletes Foundation program that helps seriously injured veterans get involved in sports like the triathlon. For more information, go to:
GE & AES
PARTNER TO REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING
A unit of General Electric Co. is working with power producer AES Corp. to develop projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
GE Energy Financial Services and Arlington, Virginiabased AES will try to offset 10 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually by 2010. That reduction is the equivalent of the annual emissions of 2.2 million average cars, GE officials said. The partnership comes amid growing worries about global warming.
The partnership comes a week after potential presidential rivals John McCain and Barack Obama joined Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman on a plan they say would reduce annual global-warming gases by two-thirds by mid-century. The plan calls for mandatory caps on greenhouse emissions for power plants, industry and oil refineries.
The GE-AES partnership will focus primarily on reducing emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a warming potential 21 times greater than carbon dioxide. Projects to capture and destroy methane emissions would include agricultural waste, landfills, coal mines and wastewater treatment.
GE has pledged to more than double its investment in the development of cleaner energy technologies, from $700 million to $1.5 billion by 2010, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions one percent by 2012, reduce the intensity of its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2008, and improve the company’s energy efficiency 30 percent by the end of 2012.
ICE, ICE BABY
FROM PARALYMPIC SKIING TO BOBSLEDDING
Paralympic skier Stephani Victor raced her way to the overall title at the 19th annual Huntsman Cup last month at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. The National Ability Center (NAC) hosted the event.
Though Victor is no stranger to the top of the mountain, with a gold medal in slalom from the Paralympic Games in Turin, Italy, and numerous World Cups, she faced icy and snowy conditions for the second run of her Park City race. But her experience and talent helped her prevail.
“The visibility was bad, and I just wanted to lay down a good second run,” she recalled. Victor coupled that win with a second one over teammate Laurie Stephens to capture the overall slalom championship.
Victor was joined by a number of racers from the U.S. and abroad, including Canada and Australia, who brought ski teams to the NorAm competition to increase their International Ski Federation (FIS) point totals, in preparation for the World Cup tour, which was recently held in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Visually impaired skier Canadian Chris Williamson used the weekend to gain more competition experience with new guide AJ Brown. The duo skied into first all three days of the event.
“It will take awhile,” Williamson explained. “It takes a lot to get in sync.”
Williamson is a B-3 rated skier, which means he has about 6 percent vision or some periphery light perception. With those limits, he must rely on Brown to communicate with him via radio and tell him about the course, the turns and the conditions. In Williamson’s races, Brown skis out just before him, and generally takes a wider line during runs to allow Williamson tighter, faster ones.
Challenging weather conditions during some of the races, however, even affected the visibility of the guides.
“It’s the blind leading the blind,” Williamson joked. ICE, ICE BABY FROM PARALYMPIC SKIING TO BOBSLEDDING P The Park City Disabled Ski Team also performed well over the weekend. Head coach Marcel Kuonen was particularly pleased with the performance of 16-year-old sitskier Greg Shaw. Shaw took sixth and eighth place in the giant slalom races and seventh in the slalom against Paralympic-level competition, dominating the juniors division with first place victories.
“We’re looking very good with Greg,” said Kuonen, who welcomed the icy and snowy conditions, because the elements exposed the younger skiers to how challenging and intense a World Cup-level race can be.
NAC co-founder and CEO Meeche White was also pleased with the performance of the local team.
“Our kids are coming along strong,” White said. “They’ve got their eyes set on 2010”—the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.
On another peak, Aaron Lanningham and Matt Profitt recently became the first athletes with disabilities ever to forerun a World Cup bobsled event at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. Both National Ability Center (NAC) athletes, Aaron, the driver, has paraplegia, while Matt, the break man, is a below-the-knee amputee. As a result of their success, the team was invited to participate in the qualifying series for the US bobsled team. Matt and Aaron’s times were comparable to many athletes competing in the America’s Cup circuit, despite the fact that Aaron is already strapped in the sled and Matt pushes solo.
The event also featured the NAC’s newly retrofitted bobsled by veteran NASCAR driver and bobsled maker Geoff Bodine. Bodine equipped the sled with a sleek NASCAR style seat, shoulder harness, seatbelt, roll cage, head-rest, and leg straps to accommodate the safety of athletes with disabilities. Bodine is currently helping to build bobsleds with this adapted design for other countries, which will enable them to create programs for their athletes, and generate awareness about adaptive bobsled programs.
The dream is to make bobsled a sport in the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.
ONE FOR THE KIDS
CVS CHARITY CREATES ADVISORY BOARD
CVS/pharmacy’s Charitable Trust, All Kids Can, has announced the creation of a new Advisory Council. It’s dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations throughout the United States that focus on education, recreation, and medical treatment for children and young adults with disabilities. The group has established partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations, including Easter Seals, Meeting Street, and the National Center for Boundless Playgrounds. Over the next five years, the council plans to give $25 million to organizations that provide support to children with disabilities.
The new council’s members will include an elementary school principal, a law professor, the director of Congressional Affairs for Easter Seals, and the editor-inchief of Exceptional Parent. All council members are knowledgeable about both education and disabilities, which will help them choose worthy, nonprofit organizations, and raise public awareness of All Kids Can’s important mission. For more, go to:
PARTNERS IN PENNSYLVANIA
JOINT VENTURE CATERS TO DISABLED
Good Shepard Rehabilitation Network and the University of Pennsylvania Health System have established a new organization called Good Shepard Penn Partners, which will provide comprehensive medical and rehabilitation care to patients throughout eastern Pennsylvania.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) is associated with University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (UPSM). UPSM, founded in 1765, is the oldest medical school in the United States. UPHS’ network includes three world-renowned hospitals, a family-practice plan, a network of primary-care providers, two satellite facilities, and a hospice team.
Good Shepard Rehabilitation Network (GSRN) provides health care to over 35,000 patients with physical and cognitive disabilities each year, specializing in assistive and rehabilitation technology. GSRN care providers are located at 30 sites in eastern Pennsylvania; additionally, GSRN operates inpatient and outpatient sites, an acute-care hospital, two assisted-living facilities for people with disabilities, an independent living facility, and a work training and placement program.
The joint venture between the two organizations, Good Shepard Penn Partners (GSPP), will specialize in providing expert post-acute care that will help patients with disabilities to gain mobility and independence. GSPP will establish a new inpatient rehabilitation center, the Penn Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine, and a new long-term, acute-care hospital, Good Shepard Specialty Hospital. Both buildings are expected to open in the summer of 2008.
BE OUR GUEST
CARLSON HELPS SHORTER CLIENTS FEEL AT HOME
Carlson Hotels Worldwide will introduce the Assistive Convenience Kit for guests at select hotels in the U.S. by July 2007. The kits are designed to make travel more accessible for the estimated one million people who are four-feet-10- inches tall or shorter, or have one of more than 200 forms of dwarfism.
The company recognized that for guests of short stature or with dwarfism, visiting a hotel can present a variety of obstacles, which the average-height hotel guest never encounters, including approaching the front desk, pushing elevator buttons, latching the lock on the guestroom door, hanging up clothes or sitting on the bed.
Carlson brands are expanding the availability of the kit at their hotels to provide greater convenience, comfort and peace of mind for guests. The kits, which will become more widely available in mid-2007, include a stepstool, a reaching tool, a bar to lower the clothes rack in closets, and a device to retrofit the latch-hook lock on the door.
The kits will be made available at all full-service Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, and at select Country Inns & Suites by Carlson Hotels, and Park Inn Hotels with more than 120 rooms. For more information, go to:
MICROSOFT UNVEILS 07 ASSISTIVE SOFTWARE
Microsoft Corp. and assistive technology vendors recently announced new products and services for people with disabilities. The products will be available in the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system and the 2007 Microsoft Office.
Historically, customers had to wait six, 12 or even 18 months for assistive software and devices that supported a newly released operating system. But now, customers who experience a range of physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities will be able to purchase the latest in assistive technology right away. This includes products such as screen readers, screen magnification, onehanded keyboards and other specialized input devices.
The accessibility settings and programs in Windows Vista should prove helpful to people with visual difficulties; hearing loss; pain, spasticity or paralysis in their hands or arms; or reasoning and cognitive issues. More information is available at:
WORK OUT SITTING DOWN
THE RESISTANCE CHAIR EXERCISE SYSTEM
Exercise can keep older adults limber, offset the incidence of disease and even reverse signs of aging, yet many seniors don’t get as much exercise as they need. For those whose problem is a lack of mobility, the Resistance Chair exercise system can be a great help. The chair allows users to do a full-body workout from a safe, comfortable seated position. Because you are seated, you maintain balance and stability as you exercise arms, chest, shoulders, abdomen, back and legs. An inner-anchor cable system offers a wide range of upper- and lower-body exercises, and provides smooth, low-impact resistance without use of heavy weights.
The chair itself is made of strong, commercial-grade construction with thick-wall steel tubing. It’s built to withstand frequent use in gyms and rehab centers, and has been tested to easily hold up to 400 pounds. Designed for people 50 and over, the Resistance Chair is also used by people with Parkinson’s, MS, and other ailments.
With no assembly required, the chair comes ready to use and is ideal for all fitness levels. Lightweight, it stores easily and is perfect for increasing muscle and joint strength, while improving flexibility & balance. It costs about $240 and comes with Strong Heart and Leisurely Living DVDs at no extra charge.
PORTABLE READER HELPS BLIND NAVIGATE WORLD
The National Federation of the Blind has teamed up with famed inventor Ray Kurzweil to develop the first portable reading device for the blind, or for anyone who has difficulty reading printed material. The new device, called the KurzweilNational Federation of the Blind Reader, weighs less than one pound and fits in a knapsack, purse or small camera bag. The user simply holds the Reader over printed material, and within seconds the device begins reading whatever print was on the page using a clear, synthetic voice.
Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, says, “This device is truly revolutionary. As a blind person, one of my biggest challenges is dealing with the substantial amount of printed material I encounter throughout the day.”
Says James Gashel, executive director for strategic initiatives at the National Federation of the Blind: “Software has existed for some time that allows a user to scan documents into a personal computer and then have the computer read the material back. But with the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader, a person brings the machine to the material as opposed to bringing the material to the machine.”
Gashel, who is blind himself, says he regularly uses the device. On a recent business trip, he says, “I stopped at an airport restaurant and read the menu, read the receipt and paid the bill, all without sighted assistance.”
The Reader works by taking a digital picture of the printed material. Special software extracts the text from the picture, and reads it using a synthetic speech engine. The Reader can be used with external speakers for extra volume, or with ear buds for privacy. Files can be saved and then retrieved for later use.
The Reader retails for $3,495 and is available from the National Federation of the Blind with a $200 introductory discount. For more information go to: