Radio Host, Author, Motivational Speaker, Father and Tireless Advocate for the Disabled, Greg Smith’s Life and Work is Showcased in this Inside Look at the Joys and Frustrations of Life as a 65-pound Disabled Dynamo
This film will be screened online throughout the month of July at http://www.onarollmovie.com as part of the national celebration of the 25 year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We need your sponsorship support to make this happen.
Two million Americans use wheelchairs. 54 million Americans have a disability. From his state-of-the art radio studio in his parents’ Mississippi house, Greg Smith—“the wheelchair dude with attitude”—uses his popular nationally syndicated radio program to offer advice, encouragement and inspiration to not only the huge number of disabled Americans but all Americans. His upbeat, tough, and often humor-filled message closes the gap between the abled and disabled by stressing that we all need help from each other, everyday. Directed by Joanne Caputo, ON A ROLL will air nationally on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 at 10 P.M. (check local listings) in conjunction with Black History Month.
Greg Smith sounds like a normal dad as he talks to his daughter on his cell phone and calls her “sweetie pie,” but interviews with his three kids prove opposite: “He needs help using the bathroom and getting in bed. He can’t play baseball that good.” Yet daughter Berkeley also knows what he can do: “He can move and drive… and talk.” It’s an accurate description as we hear Smith telling listeners about his new power wheelchair that can zoom around at 8 miles an hour.
Smith looks tiny and emaciated, but with a deep announcer’s voice he interviews Christopher Reeve, then blows the whistle on Clint Eastwood, Nike and Rush Limbaugh, all guilty of insensitivity to people with disabilities. We soon realize that he is no ordinary 65-pound man. He’s the host of On A Roll Radio who began broadcasting after a disability job discrimination experience in 1992.
By 2000, more than 40 cities air Smith’s program, but without major syndicator support. It’s part of the “institutionalized bigotry” that people with disabilities face regularly, according to Smith’s producer, Mike Ervin. Becky Ogle (former White House Disability Task Force director) and Judy Huemann (The World Bank Disability advisor) tell us about more concerns fueling current disability activism—nursing homes, independence vs. interdependence and the power of the growing disability voting bloc, now at 40 million.
The last week and a half we were in Johnstown. It was quite a different experience to be kid free for that long since the boys were born. We also had to adjust to a different schedule for that time but we managed. Getting up at 6 in the morning instead of heading to bead at that time was a little tough but we managed.
Chris went out driving about 4-5 hours everyday for the most part. He drove some crazy roads most of the time that were snow covered. He was learning to drive on very sensitive equipment so this is a pretty good indicator he can definitely handle the equipment he needs! Let alone it wasn’t set up specifically for him. He had to make do with what was available. Here’s a map to give a idea of what Chris was tackling everyday.
The full joystick was a little too finicky for him so they decided on gas/brake lever and steering on the joystick. The T handle on the gas/brake set-up wasn’t working well for him so Chris suggested a vertical handle instead. EMC doesn’t make a vertical handle surprisingly so they had to rig a makeshift stalk for him to use. The joystick was the same thing and has a pretty tiny ball and he had a little issue with that as well so they made another makeshift stalk for it. Once they got everything set up for him he did very well.
Tuesday Feb 17th he took his driver’s test to get the additional driving equipment added to his license. He had his license there are just additional requirements for driving via joystick. He is now able to get his truck equipped with EMC joystick steering!
We are now waiting for the prescription to go to OVR. Once they have the prescription we will get the go ahead to buy his truck. After we get the truck we will have to choose 3 companies to bid on the work. Once the bid process is over the truck will be dropped of with the bid winning installer. It will first head to Indiana for Mobility SVM to do the floor and lift conversion. It will then most likely head to EMC for wiring up in Maine. Finally it will then come back to the company who won the bid (we’re hoping we can get Ride-Away in Norristown) to finish the installing of EMC equipment, EZ-Lock, and all the finishing touches and we’ll take final delivery.
At final delivery Chris will have up to 5 days of additional training on his new truck with the rehabilitation specialist to make sure the truck is set up and working well for him. We still have a bit more of this process to get through but we are headed in the right direction! We’ve been warned it could be a year until we take final delivery. It shouldn’t take that long but we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the very best that it is only at most 6 months!
Here is the registration for the Upshift Summer Bash Car Show.
It’s open to anything and is a more casual meet type show. Bikes are welcome. Join the Facebook event here: Upshift Summer Bash Facebook Event
To relieve any confusion with pre-registration, you must go through all the steps to checkout. When you get to the shipping and billing information there is a spot on the right hand side that asks for the $5.00 off code. Click on it and enter the code below for the discount.
We have been working on this idea for a year now and we have finally found the PERFECT location! Lots of open room, wonderful playground for the kids and room to spread out! Are you ready to know who, what, when where and why? Keep reading!
We are working on making this our biggest fundraiser yet for Chris and our goal to raise the rest of the $10,000.00 as a down payment on a wheelchair accessible truck for him. We are getting so very close to our goal and we will reach our goal if it all goes according to plan!
We are planning a car show/ food truck/ vendor show for Saturday August 16, 2014 from 10:00 am-4/5:00pm (still not definite on all of our times yet.) We will be at Leg Up Farm in Mt. Wolf. This is a totally awesome venue and we are already familiar with it because our sons Harley and Tucker attend therapy there. They have gorgeous walking trails, an awesome coi pond, and a giant ADA Compliant playground. Enjoy the day with the whole family.
We are in the planning stages right now for the entire event and will have more details as we figure things out! Our last big fundraiser was November and was a huge success. This event promises to be even more fun and exciting with the addition of a car show and food trucks along with the vendors!
Please let us know if you can help in any way. We will definitely need more man power for this event so any and all help is appreciated!