KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE --
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – The Airman and Family Readiness Flight hosted a hero and exceptional family member program wellness and information fair on Oct. 11 in the Rio Grande Community Center.
U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher J. King, 377th Air Base Wing vice commander, said “we are with heroes of many stripes here today, wounded warriors, caregivers and disabled members of our team and our families and the ADA is there for us all” as he recognized those in attendance.
The purpose of the fair was to encourage the exploration of the latest services, technologies, and adaptive equipment to enrich the lives of those with disabilities.
After remarks by King, guest speaker Robert E. Vick Jr., local restauranteur and community advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, spoke on his own challenges and victories as a disabled person.
Vick was a victim of an assault at 19 years old which left him blind and paralyzed on the left side of his body. After two years of rehabilitation with the New Mexico Commission for the Blind’s Adult training center he learned how to function as a blind businessman and has made many contributions to Kirtland and the local community since that time.
“What has made me and my operation successful with my team is, we concentrate on abilities, not disabilities,” said Vick.
He finished by recognizing his employees with disabilities as some of the hardest and most dedicated workers he has.
When referring to his management and employees at the Thunderbird dining facility he said “they have another built in motivation…they get to help our troops, what they do matters,” as he lauded the exceptional dedication of his staff who make a difference in something as simple as the food they produce for our military here every day.
Many guest organizations attended including Canine Companions For Independence, Alta Mira Specialized Family Services, Inc., Carry Tingley Hospital Foundation, Cloud Dancers, the Employee Assistance Program, the Hearing Loss Association of ABQ, Loving Thunder Therapeutic Riding, Inc., the New Mexico Autism Society, Paws N’ Stripes and some Veteran Service Organizations. The booths offered basic information on available programs and services to those in attendance.
For more information on the hero fair or the EFMP program contact contact Ky'-shia Newsome with the Airman and family Readiness Flight at 505-853-1717, or 505-846-0741.