Today we honor the memory of our Board President, Ed Phillips. Ed has been an integral part of Three Rivers for many years. He was elected to the Board in 1990 and has served several terms as Board President providing his special brand of leadership challenging us to get the job done, no nonsense, and do it right.
Ed, you always said no one is irreplaceable. We used to think this was a statement of modesty, but maybe it was a lesson. Learn from others and be the best we can be. Ed, we’ll do our best to “get the job done right”!
We also offer sympathy and thanks to his loving wife and children for all the years they shared him with us. The Phillips family never just supported our mission, they lived it.
Edward "Ed" William Phillips
Executive Director; Audrey Schremmer-Philip addressing the importance of Evidence Based Research in the Independent Living field. Filmed by Val Renault and Cat Howland with the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas in conjunction with Amanda Reichard, PhD; RTC/IL Research Director.
Living Well with a Disability is a health promotion program for people with disabilities. Audrey Schremmer-Philip, Executive Director of Three Rivers Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Wamego, Kansas, talks about the many ways Living Well has contributed to the lives of consumers and inspired the staff at Three Rivers. For more info, visit:
It's a major cause of death and disability world wide. And, the result for victims are usually catastrophic and unpredictable. On this episode of True Life, you'll meet three young men trying desperately to recover after their lives were shattered by traumatic injuries to their brains.
Since a terrible motorcycle accident two years ago, Adam can no longer retain information for more than a brief moment,. And, he sometimes thinks the entire world around him is an illusion. Adam's family is committed to his recovery, but is there anything that can be done to make his brain better again?
Donnie's functionality continues to improve even three years after a car accident that nearly killed him. But, his short-term problem may derail his ability to regain independence. Will the return to college be a monumental step for Donnie, or just another impossible dream?
Eight months after being severely harmed in a car accident, Neil can not recognize faces and appears flat and robotic. Can he overcome his impaired social skills in order to reconnect with his friends?
Their progress is achingly slow, but they are also not about to give up. How much can these young men achieve? Find out next on True Life | I Have a Traumatic Brain Injury.
CDC Project Team Visits RTC/IL at the University of Kansas to Observe SuccessesTwo 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 Nieheus, Jo Turner-Moats, Clarence Smith, Wilma Christensen, and Dianne Bradley.)
Is your organization interested in customer service and in keeping your audience base as it ages?
Market-focused business managers are moving beyond the compliance mindset to the realization that making their businesses and/or programs accessible to everyone is simply good customer service. These business owners and service providers are breaking new ground going beyond the “compliance” measures laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act and instead focus on customer needs and desires. They embrace the “spirit of the law” and use it as an effective marketing tool.
Visit stores, museums and other venues catering to families and senior citizens and you see subtle measures designed to increase the customer’s experience. Items addressed by accessibility laws are certainly present such as curb cuts, gently sloping ramps and automatic doors. But these basic, foundation accommodations are embraced as marketing tools to increase the “customer experience”. Lowered countertops allow patrons to easily complete transactions. Wider aisles allow scooter access while increasing merchandise visibility. Large easy to read signage reduces frustration in locating items. However, these businesses have found their niche by going beyond the basics.
Savvy business owners are learning low cost/no cost accommodations can increase customer satisfaction. Small tables strategically placed beside manually operated doors allow individuals to sit down packages while opening the door. Benches or chairs placed at regular intervals allow rest breaks. Brochures and other printed materials are printed in large plain script on non glossy paper. Background music is low and lights are bright in consideration of customers with hearing loss or vision impairments. Aisles are clear, chairs are pushed in under tables and loose merchandise is up off the floor whenever possible. Hotels are being built with low threshold showers, eliminating the seldom used, hard to clean bathtubs. Accessible “family bathrooms” have become a welcome standard in family friendly venues. Business owners who have focused on the “spirit of the law” have positioned their businesses to increase their customer base now and in the future.
Approach accessibility solutions as you would any other marketing effort and continually ask customers “what can I do to improve your experience?” You might be pleasantly surprised to discover new and easy ways to improve accessibility and increase your customer base. For additional ideas, contact your nearest Center for Independent Living.
This video responds to concerns expressed by employers, explaining the ADA in common sense terms and dispelling myths about this often overlooked pool of well-qualified employees. Check out the other informational videos at the Department of Justice's ADA Video Gallery page.
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.
In 1978, I received a Law Enforcement achievement award from the Kansas Attorney General. That was a great honor to receive such an award that only a few have received. In 1980 I was given a Youth Service award from the local Sertoma group and in 1992; I was named Citizen of the year, another great honor.
My career has not just been in Law enforcement. I was asked to run for City Council. I ran and won election in 1989 and served for 8 years until 1997. I took a break from politics until 2007 where I was asked to run for Mayor. I won the election in April of 2007 and am currently the Mayor of the City of Tonganoxie.
I have been very fortunate to have a great support group in my life from family and friends. You must never think your life is over because of your disability, but a new beginning to a different life.
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.
Audrey Schremmer is the Executive Director of Three Rivers Inc. She considers it a blessing to be surrounded by great team members, her peers around the state and country and of course her four legged friends that come with her to work everyday.
Audrey Schremmer-Philip, Executive Director