Disability Connection


How a Family Car Wash Has Changed the Lives of People With Autism

Like many people with autism, Andrew D’Eri had a hard time finding a job.

Then, his father, a veteran entrepreneur, and older brother, who had recently finished business school, had an idea: What if they opened business employed mostly by people with autism?

“We wanted to build … an example big and bold and out there that other companies could go ahead and want to emulate,” Andrew’s brother Tom D’Eri, 25, told ABC News, adding that they wanted to find a business that would educate the community by putting autistic employees in front of the customers.

They opened the Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Florida, in 2013, and today they employ 35 autistic men and women!

2014-Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, “The Big Idea”


The Big Idea
The Big Idea


Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation launched a campaign that will redefine what it means to live with SCI. This initiative, called The Big Idea, will support the next phase epidural stimulation research and recruit 36 new candidates to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention in restoring autonomic functions, movement below the injury level, as well as the ability to stand. Please click the link for more information:   www.reevebigidea.org





2014-Veterans Virtual Career Fair

Veterans Virtual Career Fair
Veterans Virtual Career Fair

MEET LIVE WITH RECRUITERS ONLINE More than 81,000 veterans hired since September 2011 Chat live with recruiters in their virtual booths View/apply for jobs in real time Win great prizes like IPad and Visa gift cards

Paul Smith's Animal Artwork Made with a Typewriter

Hero Artist’s Work Lives On

“Paul Smith, born in 1921 with severe spastic cerebral palsy, learned to use a standard typewriter to create beautiful pictures that from a distance resemble fine pencil or pastel drawings. Paul died in Roseburg, Oregon in 2007.” -Via YouTube

Hero Ex-SVP : “Walgreens has “dream goal”, …10% disabled workforce within five years”

ex-Walgreens SVP Randy Lewis
Picture and Quotes via “www.hrmagazine.co.uk”

A Truly Uplifting Story

Randy Lewis has an incredible story to tell. “It’s the tale of how a man who led logistics at America’s largest drug-store chain, supporting it as it grew from 1,600 to 8,000 outlets with the most advanced logistics network in its sector, did so while giving job opportunities to thousands of disabled people.”


Randy is an advocate. He understands the benefits that inclusive organizations experience. Think ability, not disability.

This is another quote from the article. It really shows how perseverance and teamwork are so important to the success of any strategy:

Walgreens had previously employed disabled people to do “ancillary rather than mission-critical work”, cleaning for example, but Lewis wanted to do something more. “We wanted an opportunity to bring people in as our own employees,” he recalls. That opportunity came with the building of a new distribution centre; larger and more automated than any the company had owned before.”

The full article goes in to depth regarding Randy’s personal inspirations and current advocacy work.

I encourage our followers to read the full article 


Hero Community Volunteers Help Veteran

Community Volunteer HeroesDC is extremely proud of these hero community volunteers that have come together to help a fellow neighbor after a fire destroyed her home.


“I just feel blessed, you know, just blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed,” Silva said.

“We need to all come together and support our friends and neighbors because none of us know when it might be ourselves,” Founder of Disability Connection Janie O’Keefe said.

Quote and Photo Via WLOX News

July 2014

View the local news stories below:

Volunteers  help a woman who lost everything in a fire – WLOX

Disability Connection helps out Local Veteran – WXXV-25

Hero, Local Veteran Gives Back

Dave Flowers is a local hero making a huge difference.

Dave FlowersThe Dave Flowers Foundation was established for the purpose of providing critical support to veterans underserved by current public and private veteran support programs.

The Dave Flowers Foundation is focused primarily on veterans of WWII, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam Conflict. The service area of the foundation will be the three coastal counties of Mississippi.

“Although great emphasis has been placed on post service care for those detached from military service since Desert Storm there is a large and woeful gap between the services provided to veterans exiting military service today and the services provided to veterans of less recent wars and conflicts. Compounding the services gap is the reluctance of older veterans to ask for help; even when desperately needed. This unwillingness stems from pride, perception, and past poor experiences with veterans support organizations.The Dave Flowers foundation will help veterans overcome both real and perceived obstacles and will deliver services where gaps exist. The Dave Flowers Foundation will identify veterans of historical conflicts and war, assess their needs, and work to fulfill those needs. Services provided will include financial support for critical needs, assistance with identifying available resources, helping veterans in utilizing existing resources, and providing a helping hand with critical projects. This country owes these veterans a great debt.

The Dave Flowers Foundation mission is to ensure all veterans within our region of influence receive the care and respect they deserve.”


To read more about Dave’s story and about this wonderful organization, visit www.DaveFlowersFoundation.org

Hero Teenager Shares His Philosophy

“Being brave is not supposed to be easy.” Sam Berns gave this speech just before he passed away. This particular quote is one of many that I will always remember. If you have not already watched this video about Sam’s philosophy for a happy life or his documentary, “Life According to Sam”, I would encourage you to watch both. Sam was a hero. His words have changed the world for the better. I am going to post his three tips for a happy life on my refrigerator at home. In closing, another quote comes to mind:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

Thank you Sam. Rest in peace.



“The original video, made by TEDx, is just one of lots of things Sam did in his many efforts to make the world a better place. You can get to know him better through his HBO documentary as well as help find a cure for this disease by checking out Progeria Research Foundation.” – via Upworthy