Celebration planned to honor ADA
SUMMIT COUNTY – For the past 13 years, a series of simple changes may have fallen under the radar screen of most healthy, able-bodied people. During that time, however, the daily landscape for more than 43 million disabled Americans has changed substantially.
Saturday is the 13th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To celebrate, Bristlecone Health Services and Mountain Mobility are throwing a party in the Frisco Historic Park with live music, food, inspirational speakers and information on local resources for the handicapped.
“It’s a place to honor the people who are disabled,” said Cindy Lensmire, a driver and coordinator of the Mountain Mobility program with the Summit Stage. “This day is really about them and getting to know them and their families.”
The act’s signing was a landmark event, said Shelly Michell, one of the Frisco event’s organizers. In addition to curtailing discrimination against the disabled, it required various commercial sites to make changes ranging from designing accessible bathrooms to reshaping doorways to facilitate wheelchair access.
“It made a lot of difference to the businesses,” she said.
This is the second year the groups have celebrated the event, with more than 100 people attending the festivities last year.
“Already, we’re seeing that (it has) developed into something far greater,” Lensmire said in reference to the first event. “It’s really growing to something that could be really neat as a community event.”
Both Lensmire and Michell emphasized that the party had not been conceived as a fund-raiser, but partially as a means of helping disseminate information on services for the disabled in the county.
Those services are bountiful, said Ron Lindblade, a Silverthorne resident who volunteers in the disabled community and is legally blind himself.
Lindblade pointed to Mountain Mobility as one of the key services that benefit him and those he works with. The program, which transports individuals whose particular needs make them incapable of using the general Summit Stage system, came about in large part because of ADA.
“It’s just such a blessing,” he said. “It’s a wonderful service for people who are disabled and cannot drive.”
Vicki Baumgartner, a Silverthorne resident, used the service for more than two months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on her knee.
“Just to not have to constantly have to ask other people to (transport you around) was such a blessing,” she said. “I felt so much more independent.”
Baumgartner said meeting a variety of other people with disabilities opened her eyes to the services the community provides.
“It was important to me to see that we were helping these people on an ongoing basis, which is something we need to do,” she said.
That awareness is one of the larger goals of Saturday’s event, Lensmire said.
“When people know that they’re not alone in the challenges they face, that can make a big difference in their lives,” she said.
Aidan Leonard can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or
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