From Consumer to Employee
by Clara Reinecke, Seneca Courier-Tribune staff
Mike Huber, like most young folks, thought he was indestructible. Unfortunately he found out differently late on the night of November 16, 2003.
Driving home that night, admittedly after spending the evening partying, he lost control of his vehicle, hitting a light pole and slamming into a bank. Anyway, that’s what he has been told. He has no memory of any of it, and very little of the months to follow.
The family would find out, that as a result of the accident, Mike had suffered a severe brain stem injury that would change life as he knew it. “I remember being in KU Med Center but I don’t remember any details about it,” says Huber who would remain there until February of 2004.
His next step on the road to recovery was a three month stay in a rehabilitation center in Gardner, Kansas. His parents, Mick and Virginia Huber, along with Mike’s daughter, Casey, were weekly visitors to him during that time. They also took him home for weekend stays until technicalities in his insurance coverage no longer made that possible. Frustrations mounted as a result and his parents decided to bring him back to Seneca to continue his recuperation.
In order to bring him home, his mother knew they would have to have help, so she checked into Three Rivers Inc., and what they could offer Mike through the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver. Within days he was on their services, enabling him to be in his home surrounded by his family.
“Three Rivers services supplied me with a ramp because I was still in a wheelchair. I had a skills trainer who made me walk every day and helped me to relearn some of the skills I had lost,” says Mike. “I had to learn simple household chores and how to manage money so I could someday live by myself again.”(read more)
by Michael Vestal, Mayor of Tonganoxie, KS and 3R Consumer
My new life as a quadriplegic began on the late evening of September 9th, 1970. I was just 19 and my hopes of becoming a Deputy Sheriff ended. I was critically injured in a car accident. I was taken to Kansas University Medical Center, where I was in a coma for 2 weeks. The doctors had told my parents to make plans for a funeral, but by the grace of God and my perseverance, I awoke. I spent the next 6 months recovering from my injuries. I made the decision those months that I would not give up and I would make the best of a bad situation. I was released from the hospital and was on a waiting list to enter a rehabilitation center in Kansas City, Mo. I spent a month in rehab learning how to transfer and learned how to better cope with my disability. I never gave up and was always upbeat and was not going o let anything get me down.
I had been home about 6 months and decided I was going to get back in the work force. I was hired at a sheet metal company where I answered the phone and did billing. I was there for a couple years and the new Police Chief in town knew me and knew my passion for law enforcement. He came to me and asked if I would be Tonganoxie’s Police Dispatcher. Of course, He did not have to ask me twice. I finally was given the opportunity to be involved in something I loved. I started in April of 1974, and never looked back. That job created new opportunities. I was asked to also dispatch for the New EMS service and the Southern part of my County. I worked for those two agencies for about 15 years until our county got a 911 service. I still dispatched for Tonganoxie, as I still do today.(read more)
CDC Project Team Visits RTC/IL at the University of Kansas to Observe Successes
Two women who have participated in a course called Living Well with a Disability through the Kansas Disability and Health Program shared their personal success stories with visitors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March at a meeting hosted by the Research and Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) at the University of Kansas. Living Well with a Disability is a health promotion course that the RTC/IL provides in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Disability and Health Program with funding from the CDC. "Hearing these personal stories gives meaning to the data and other information that we report to the CDC," said Glen W. White, Ph.D., director of the RTC/IL. Representatives from the Kansas Disability & Health Program will be onsite at the June Disability & Health Partners Meeting. (In the picture above from left: Veronica Thigpen, Lynn Niehaus, Jo Turner-Moats, Clarence Smith, Wilma Christensen, and Dianne Bradley.)