WPO Guest Blog- It’s an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

Special thanks to our member Sally Swanson for this blog submission.



Ouch! Like a bandage being ripped from one’s skin, it’s striking how this year has vividly defined unity and in alarming contrast the great divide facing this country.

This blog required more reflection than usual as I came to grips with my conflicting emotions. It wasn’t until I went to my local chapter San Francisco Rotary Club meeting celebrating the 31st Annual Emergency Services Day that our current political climate of uncertainty and fear took shape and framed the moment in time for me.

At this pivotal meeting, the San Francisco Rotary Club honored individuals who had accomplished brave and successful rescue missions for San Francisco’s Sheriff Department, Fire Department, Police Department as well as the United States Coast Guard.

The theme of the meeting was to salute our first responder personnel who have demonstrated exceptional acts of courage, character, compassion for their community and commitment to their chosen professions.

I was especially moved to see that two women, Sheriff Vicki L. Hennessy and Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White were the leaders for these two important organizations. The noble rescue acts recognized by the honored members of each department demonstrated their dedication to assisting other individuals. One expressed that adherence to the principles of law and order encouraged a spirit of inclusiveness and positive teamwork, while the other shared that team participation and common sacrifice by the selected honorees were the extraordinary measures taken to achieve peace and purpose of duty.

Leaving that meeting I was buoyed by sheer optimism that America is still great!

I’m off to a great start personally and professionally with a scheduled presentation at the Transportation Research Board’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Always excited to be in the company [massive attendance] of like-minded professionals, I was thrilled to speak to my peers about my firm’s ground-breaking progress in ADA accessibility and Wayfinding for transit-oriented developments, as well as report my findings from the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics.

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