Friday, September 30, 2011

Fred L. Day: Standing Tall . . . In Loving Memory

Have you ever thought what it might be like to be in a wheel-chair, or you could say a chair with wheels?
Either way it’s OK.

There are reasons why people need to use chairs like that.
very often it’s because they have had an injury to their neck or back.

Some feel there is very little these people can do,
But that is most definitely not true.

I know a man who in the great state of South Carolina was raised.
When he was young his athletic and academic abilities were praised.

At the age of twenty, while on break from the University of South Carolina, his life changed in a very big way,
when he fell asleep while driving home one Christmas Eve day.

His mother had asked him to find the very best tree,
one that would impress the entire family.

While returning home the car drifted off the road as he slept.
When his mom saw him in the hospital she wept.

The doctors said he would never walk again
and that a wheel chair would be the best thing for him.

As the first wheel-chair student to ever live on the USC campus, he returned to complete his college degree,
although he did not know how hard it would be.

There were no ramps or elevators in the buildings in that day
so he had to find another way.

There was a football player who was his friend.
He and his buddies carried Fred where he could not go to his college days’ end.

However, there were others who treated him rudely because he was not the same.
Fred realized that treating someone poorly just because he was different was really lame.

He knew there were others like him who wanted a college degree too,
so he decide there was something he could do.

He spoke with the president of the school to ask if ramps and elevators could be installed,
and Lyndon B. Johnson, the 37th Vice President of the United States he even called.

The Vice President was not there so he spoke for over an hour with Lady Bird Johnson, his wife.
That began a friendship that Fred cherished for all his life.
Improvements did not come right away
But they did come at a later day.

With a college degree in hand, he decided that a job he would seek.
In three years he applied for 435 jobs, but they all thought he was too weak.

Finally the 436th decided to respond,
and Fred had a job in an office before long.

He typed forms by wedging pencils in-between his stiffened fingers and with the eraser end struck the keys.
He did it endlessly and not with ease.

Later, he went to Washington DC to work for the Navy and for the government department that handles mail.
He was determined never to fail.

He also worked somewhere else in Washington D.C., oh yea, the state department is the place.
That’s the government agency that works with foreign countries to keep our world safe.

He then returned to his home and was elected to the South Carolina state legislature where he served for six years.
You see he had conquered all his fears.

One of Fred’s greatest desires was to improve education in the schools.
He worked hard to make sure students had all the right tools.

He also influenced the Americans with Disabilities act, legislation that makes sure everyone is treated fair,
including those who need to use a wheel-chair.

Maybe you have been to Charleston South Carolina and seen the state Aquarium,
Fred helped plan that, saying if we build it people will come.

All these things were done and never once did Fred stand.
From his chair he became one of the great men in this land.

As you can plainly see, things that can be done while in a wheel-chair
are only limited by the brain beneath your hair.

So when challenges come your way, and they most certainly will,
take a moment to breathe deep and be still.

With a positive heart and mind things will work out OK,
and you will make this country a better place, just like Fred L. Day.

In Loving Memory!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an amazing man, this was a very nice tribute to him.