Your Rich VR Heritage Issue #19: The longstanding and vital relationship between NC DVRS, its partners and NRA/NCRA
Good Morning VR Team with a Dream,
In light that our 2017 GREAT/NCRA/NCATP conference is being held this week, it is most appropriate to feature our exploration of what I consider an inseparably vital relationship to the well-being of the national rehabilitation program and the NC VR program, its network of partners and we the ministers of the mission. Following this review we should conclude that the National Rehabilitation Association and NCRA are both incredibly important resources and modalities to meet the needs. These grass roots organizations will only produce dividends based on what we invest through our individual and corporate engagement and support.
We will explore the record, mainly through our revered REACH publications, to present to you a reasonably concise overview of 62 years of consistent activity of the NCRA. There may be future presentations where items that were missed during this round will be highlighted. We certainly have plans to share additional photos and other proud moments, hopefully of more recent years so that the faithful can reflect upon and savor the ground we’ve gained all while investing in each other through building our relationships and celebrating our victories. These victories worth celebrating can be clients’ lives changed or personally gaining a new perspective on best practices or approaches that are needed for equipping clients for today’s global economy or independent living successes.
From the January-February Issue of 1968—the message and mission remains the same—we as a state and national program/system with partners such as training universities, rehabilitation centers, treatment centers, community rehabilitation programs, school systems, and other partners can optimize our impact through active engagement and supporting the grand mission we are part of. Coming together to train and focus on new trends and areas we need to address together is an essential component of that process. Engagement helps us all to capture the passion of our profession instead of standing as observers on the sidelines of our careers---and lives. If you wish to engage your profession fully and become a member of North Carolina’s chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association—follow the link: https://www.nationalrehab.org/
This was published at a time when membership fees were as follows, which, when adjusted for inflation, is likely in line with today’s membership costs:
The earliest record we have in the REACH publications pertaining to North Carolina’s support of the National Rehabilitation Association (which began in 1925) is found in the November-December 1953 issue, which is only the third issue published. North Carolina’s chapter had not yet been formed as you will see below, it was formed October-November of 1955. Highlighted in the topics discussed then are often very relevant to us now. Note the topic in the blue brackets—how inciteful and a testimony to the fact that this is something that will always be an area where we can improve, since the partners are always changing. It is a reminder that we must remain at the table of discussion and planning with our partners to achieve the full benefit of the “greater sum” from its partner “parts.”
Another point of observation is that NC DVRS’s early leaders attended the NRA conference where they became acutely aware that North Carolina was in great need of rehabilitation centers and NC DVRS had an important role over time in helping establish orthopedic clinics and regional rehabilitation centers, such as the one established in Fayetteville.
Not long after attending the NRA meeting, our then Director Charles Warren began to demonstrate strong leadership and became elected as NATIONAL president of the National Rehabilitation Association. This was a very proud moment for the Division as indicated in the Nov-Dec 1954 REACH:
The excitement apparently spread with in NC DVRS and shortly thereafter it gave birth to the establishment of the North Carolina chapter of NRA --NCRA—North Carolina Rehabilitation Association – Established October 1955 as per Nov-Dec 1955 REACH:
As indicated in the article above, Charles L. (C.L.) Haney stepped up to become NCRA’s first President and later first Executive Director. To help you get to know this fine leader, am including some biographical information from the Mar-Apr 1955 REACH issue:
From this Mar-April 1969 REACH, we see that he C.L. Haney was serving as NCRA Executive Director, which was a position separate from NCRA President:
In March of 1967, NCRA was experiencing one of its moments of strength when NC Governor Dan K. Moore became a member of NCRA in appreciation for his support for rehabilitation movement and for movement toward addressing architectural barriers within the state. This was celebrated in the March-April 1967 REACH issue below:
NCRA Executive Director C.L. Haney had a special address in the July-August 1968 REACH – NOTE THE NCRA MEMBERSHIP OF THAT ERA—924 Members--- that is something we can address together!
NCRA membership remains an important demonstration of commitment to engage and make VR services and career experience better. From the Jan-February 1957 REACH:
For this portion of this issue’s exploration of NCRA’s past, we fast forward to the 1971 NCRA conference where you see examples of learning, renewal, inspiration, exposure to larger and changing concepts (reframing), and fellow ministers of the mission re-igniting their collaborative relationships.
From 1971 NCRA Conference Nov-Dec 1971 REACH:
NOTE: Recognition of Harold Thoms -- no doubt affiliated with a key partner then and now --Thoms Rehabilitation Hospital (now CarePartners Health Services)
Note the NRA has subdivisions/interest groups comprised of specialty areas where individuals with similar interests can participate in collectively beneficial activities. One active example is RPEN, which is the Rehabilitation Program Evaluation Network. Our own Dr. Jeff Stevens, NC DVRS Chief of Planning and Evaluation, presently serves as the RPEN representative to the NRA board.
The NRA subdivision/interest group related to counselor concerns had an NCRA Chapter called NCRCA (NC Rehabilitation Counselor Association). Here were some of its activities from the final issue of REACH Nov-Dec 1972:
NOTE: Perry Crabtree ended his career in Staff Development Section (now PDT) in the mid-90’s. Ray Hartley ended his career with DVRS in the early 90’s.
Fast forwarding to the late 1970’s and early 80’s, we are including some photos that very few have seen until now. We are including them as there are several of our readership who may remember these individuals who have since retired. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:
Some things have changed little—for the good—squeezing in roomies to save and having a good productive time and enjoying the moment!
I hope you have enjoyed this exploration of NRA/NCRA and its proud heritage and highlights of important points in its development and some fun reminiscent sharing of some photos of those who did support the mission during their tenure and have retired, passing the mantel on to those of us who elected to join the team. Will you help carry and strengthen NRA/NCRA to the levels of strength and support they and the Division needs to be superlatives in rehabilitation for those who rely on us? A sincere thanks for your consideration, partnership, and yes—friendship-- as we move forward in our mission!
Good Morning Fellow VR Ministers of Hope!
Thought we would take a moment this morning and explore some VR history that ties to the GREAT/NCRA /NCATP conference, since it is just around the corner. Annually at the conference typically during the award service is a special event—typically two students attending university programs will receive academic scholarships funded by a scholarship fund named in the honor of a much-endeared former area director T. L. McClellan. The internet, as useful as it is, was not very helpful in helping us explore his history. Thankfully, REACH publications and information of long time but recently retired scholarship coordinator Georgia Gulledge helped with friends fill in some of the undocumented history gaps.
We do know that Mr. McClellan began his long career with VR in 1947 following his service during World War II which is summarized in a REACH article from the September-October 1956 edition included below in its entirety:
We also know that later in his career and until his untimely death October, 1968, he served as an Area (Regional) Director for a relatively short period (1966-1968):
As given in an explanation within one of the REACH issues, having six area directors was a method of succession planning during a period when the Division was rapidly expanded. Standing in the middle was Charles A. Guy who was my Assistant Regional Director of the South Central Region under Larry W. Holland when I began and was my supervisor for six months upon Larry’s retirement around 1995. It was shortly thereafter when the Division consolidated North Central and South Central regions to become the Central region. I also was able to work with C.A. McDaniel in a different capacity over the years when he became a driving evaluator/trainer.
Until his untimely death October 13, 1968, T.L. McClellan spent his entire career in the service of the rehabilitation profession and was involved in establishing and supporting the North Carolina Rehabilitation Association across the state. Mr. McClellan was president-elect of NCRA in 1968; unfortunately, he passed away before assuming Presidency of the association. He was honored in the next REACH article with top billings.
Finally, in a tribute of honor, members of the rehabilitation profession made contributions toward and established a scholarship fund. You can see evidence of this effort below in a flyer similar to the VR version of “Coffee News” but with allusions to “Smoking News” which was very common among many of the staff during that time. Hard to imagine, but it was the practice of many to smoke within their VR offices—this continued until about 1999.
Transitioning to the topic of GREAT/NCRA/NCATP conferences, I have a scan of the 1974 conference program (the oldest one I have access to) and found it interesting in a few ways:
Well team, I hope this article helped you understand more about T.L. McClellan, a great VR Counselor and Leader who made a tremendous impact within his era. I hope documenting this better will help us to appropriately memorialize the person for which the scholarship was set up in his honor in 1968.
For fun, I do hope to work in some photos in the next issue from NCRA conferences from a long gone era and one not too distant if I have such materials available—open to receiving any key photos (with year and name info if possible).
Please remain mindful that every day spent doing your important work presents an opportunity to contribute toward either positively impacting consumers’ lives forever, or presents an opportunity for you to help strengthen our service delivery programs function with improved quality, impact, efficiency, and optimized customer service. As we observe from our predecesors, we can achieve tremendous things together and have a fulfilling, fun, and enjoyable time doing it together as a team focusing on that objective of seeing just how excellently impactful we can be!
With warm regards,
Good Carolina Mornin’!
Thought it would be nice to start your week off with a short clip of inspiration from the 2017 C. Odell Tyndall Breakfast held June 7. This year’s event was well attended with 80 total attendees including 18 legislators—thanks for your support with identifying those with testimonies and for actively participating. Simply put, without your support in these ways, this event cannot succeed. I am hoping to share more specifics of some of these testimonies, but this clip will be an overview. Greatest inspiration will occur with attending the event directly—plan on attending next year’s event!
A summary of the agenda:
Frances Robinson introduces Stephanie Wells, HR Recruiter of Hickory Spring Manufacturing, who has a long time track record in hiring individuals with disabilities through partnering with NC DVRS. Stephanie mentioned specific examples of successful employee situations and the mutual commitment between management and employees that exists at HSM.
Hope this short clip helps you to capture and live the passion of your profession this week—just like the example C. Odell Tyndall left for us!
Phil Protz & Cheryl Revels
Co - Commissioners
Fantastic Friday To Ye’ Faithful Rehabbers!
As alluded to in Issue #16 of this series, this Issue #17 will explore the brief Civil War history that occurred on Dix Hill. We will also tie the Civil War aftermath to the compassion of the North Carolina Legislature who supported its veterans through the development of a prosthetic limb distribution program after the war to help with the rehabilitation of those who lived through the extremely gruesome events of warfare of that era.
HOSPITAL IN SERVICE TO SOLDIERS
We will begin our story in 1862 when the “Asylum” (Dorothea Dix Hospital) admitted four soldiers because of “war excitement” and two others that suffered “acute and violent mania.” While the hospital had reportedly rejected some civilians because of overcrowding and supply shortages, soldiers were not turned away.
SOLDIERS OF THE CONFEDERACY ENCAMPED ON DIX HILL
According to the map below encountered on display in a small museum downtown, Raleigh, the soldiers of the Confederacy were at one time encamped on Dix Hill prior to their evacuation on the evening of April 12, 1865.
GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN PAYS A VISIT TO DIX HILL ON HIS MARCH TO THE SEA
As Union General William T. Sherman and his troops ravaged the South on their March to the Sea, their reputation preceded them. North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance chose to deal directly with Gen. Sherman in an attempt to save the city of Raleigh. A delegation appointed by Vance met the advancing Union troops at the summit of the hill south of Walnut Creek with a white flag of surrender and a request for protection for its noncombatants and public and private property. General Judson Kirkpatrick, a notorious Federal cavalry commander, agreed to protect all that complied and to destroy all that resisted. Union soldiers occupied the city on April 12. The only resistance came from a Confederate Lieutenant from Texas that fired five shots at the Union troops. The ensuing Union troops chased him around the Capitol grounds, caught him on Hillsborough Street, and promptly hung him in Burke Square.
General Sherman arrived that night and occupied the Governor's Mansion. On the morning April 17th, Sherman received a telegram announcing Lincoln's assassination at the hand of thespian John Wilkes Booth. Word spread quickly through the troops surrounding Raleigh. According to a diary entry in one Indiana officer's diary, a mob of two thousand angry Union soldiers charged down from their camp on Dix Hill. Union General John Logan met them at the foot of the hill and threatened to shoot anyone that didn't return to camp. The men turned back. The city of Raleigh was spared from a fiery inferno.
At one time there were 17,000 men encamped on Dix Hill surrounding Dix Hospital. Union soldiers also occupied Spring Hill, which was the plantation home (featured in Issue #16) owned by Theophilus Hunter (also seen on the map above).
The gardens of Dix Hill which were previously used to help feed the patients were decimated by the soldiers and civilians. At the war’s end the hospital’s condition was described as “deplorable” by Governor Jonathan Worth, who subsequently helped restore the hospital. Legislators authorized the expenditure of up to $35,000 from the public treasury to make repairs in 1866.
NC LEGISLATURE HAS COMPASSION ON AMPUTEE VETERANS OF CIVIL WAR
About 75 percent of the operations performed by surgeons during the Civil War were amputations. For those who survived amputation and the resulting infections, the pursuit of artificial limbs was natural. Artificial legs, and to a lesser extent, arms, also helped the amputees get back to work in order to support themselves and their families. The United States government assisted Union amputees after the Civil War, but Confederate veterans were considered the responsibilities of the states. The North Carolina Legislature responded quickly to the needs of its citizens and became the first of the former Confederate states to offer artificial limbs to amputees.
On January 23, 1866, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution asking Governor Jonathan Worth to contract with a manufacturer of artificial limbs to fulfill the needs of the state’s Confederate amputees. Doing so, North Carolina became the first of the former Confederate states to offer artificial limbs to amputees. The state contracted with Jewett’s Patent Leg Company, and a temporary factory was set up in Raleigh. A system was developed so that the amputees encountered no out-of-pocket expenses in visiting Raleigh for prosthetic fittings. Because artificial arms were not considered to be very functional, it was another year before the state offered artificial arms.
During the five years that the state operated the artificial limbs program, 1,550 Confederate veterans contacted the state for help. According to records in the state archives, the total cost of the artificial-limbs program to the state was over $81,000. [Editor's note: this is equivalent to approximately 1.1 million in 2017 dollars]
Currently, the North Carolina Medicaid program and NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services are two programs applying state appropriated matching funds to carry on the tradition of assisting its citizens to live, work and participate within the NC Community through full or partial sponsorship of prosthetic limbs of a much more improved and functional nature. The NC Legislature is to be commended for their continued support of its citizens with disabilities. NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services is pleased to be one of their resources for extending compassionate assistance to those who require these devices for employment purposes.
We hope that through this issue you have learned a few interesting historical facts about the NC DVRS' current storied location for its central office operations. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services central office team will continue its journey from Dix Hill to new locations as a result of Dix Hill’s recent sale to the City of Raleigh. Unlike General Sherman’s march of destruction to Savannah, NC DVRS will leave a legacy of healing and creative problem solving for North Carolinians with disabilities who require our assistance to regain their footing in life’s important activities.
Happy Carolina Friday Team!
This week’s exploration of the NC Vocational Rehabilitation program heritage really has more to do with the campus where the DVRS Central/State Office currently resides and its history. Many of you may already know that the City of Raleigh has purchased the Dorothea Dix Campus (Dix Hill) and will be relocating tenants from the property, including DVRS Central/State Office sometime during the next 5-8 years. The current plans are to create a mixed use destination park.
NC DVRS CENTRAL / STATE OFFICE PREVIOUS LOCATIONS:
Before we go further into the review of Dix Hill’s history, the following are the previous addresses of the NC DVRS program and approximate related time periods:
NC DVRS was a Division of the Dept. of Public Instruction when it began in 1921. It is thought that the very first office space (birthplace?) for the NC DVRS program was located at 121 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC. Am confident that the building has been demolished, but here is a modern street view of that sacred spot in our history:
Interesting fact: About that time (1922 ad) East Carolina University was offering free tuition for anyone who wanted to be a teacher(!):
Circa 1938- May 1959 NC DVRS Central Office was housed in the former Education Building (Now NC Justice Building) 114 West Edenton Street, Raleigh (4th floor)
NC DVRS Central Office was located at the following office addresses all in Raleigh, NC:
June 1959- May 1966 1124 Hillsboro Street, Raleigh, NC
June 1966 - July 1972 305-1/2 West Martin Street, Raleigh, NC
August 1972 – Early 1980’s 620 N. West Street, Raleigh, NC
Early 1980’s – Present 805 Ruggles Drive, Raleigh, N (Haywood Building on Dorothea Dix Campus)
The Haywood Building, current location of NC DVRS Central/State Office, was built as a dormitory facility in 1950 (left wing). The wing protruding forward on the right side of this photo was built circa 1960. It is one of over 100 buildings currently located on 310 remaining acres of the current Dorothea Dix Campus (Dix Hill). Boundaries to the campus are Western Boulevard, Lake Wheeler, and Centennial Drive in Raleigh.
EARLY HISTORY OF DIX HILL
Dorothea Dix Campus was originally Spring Hill Plantation owned by a prominent civic leader and merchant Colonel Theophilus Hunter (Sr.). The plantation was established in the 1790s, and Colonel Hunter is buried adjacent to his former home place. His son, Theophilus Hunter, Jr. inherited the property in 1798 and erected Spring Hill house in 1816. When he died 1840 the plantation comprised 5,000 acres. The state of North Carolina purchased 182 acres from his estate in 1851, which became the core of the Dix Hill property. William Grimes bought Spring Hill in 1872, and upon his death in 1908, his widow sold Spring Hill house and an additional 160 acres to the state, thereby enlarging the grounds of Dix Hospital.
The house shown below is the home built in 1816 by T Hunter Jr., which replaced the home of the Col. T. Hunter (Sr.) which was thought to be built somewhere behind the current structure. This home is still on Dix Hill and now serves as NC State University’s Japan House.
DOROTHEA DIX PLEADS FOR HUMANE TREATMENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
Who was Dorothea Lynde Dix and why is the campus named after her/her father?
Dorothea Dix (April 4, 1802 – July 18, 1887) was an American activist on behalf of individuals with mental illness who were then referenced as “the indigent insane.” Ms. Dix, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and Congress, created the first generation of American Mental Illness Treatment Facilities previously referenced as “insane asylums.” During the Civil War (War Between the States), she served as a Superintendent of Army Nurses.
In 1848 North Carolina, Dorothea Dix followed her established pattern of gathering information about local conditions which she then incorporated into a “memorial” for the NC General Assembly. Warned that the Assembly, almost equally divided between Democrats and Whigs, would shy from any legislation which involved spending substantial amounts of money, Ms. Dix nevertheless won the support of several important Democrats led by Representative John W. Ellis who presented her “memorial” to the Assembly and maneuvered it through a select committee to the floor of the House of Commons. There, however, despite appeals to state pride and humanitarian feeling, the bill failed. Ms. Dix had been staying in the Mansion House Hotel in Raleigh during the legislative debate. There she went to the aid of a fellow guest, Mrs. James Dobbins, and nursed her through her final illness. Mrs. Dobbins’s husband was a leading Democrat in the House of Commons, and her dying request of him was to support Ms. Dix’s bill. James Dobbins returned to the House and made an impassioned speech calling for the reconsideration of the bill. The legislation passed the reconsideration vote and on the 29th day of January, 1849, passed its third and final reading and became law. One of the buildings on the Dix Hill campus is named after James Dobbins.
As a result of her influence, a legislative commission was created to establish and locate a suitable site for a state-supported institution to treat individuals with mental illness.
In 1851 the commission declared:
“. . . after carefully examining the whole country in the vicinity of Raleigh, we chose a location west of the city and about one mile distant, which in our opinion was best adapted to that purpose . . . This location has a commanding view of the city and is believed to be perfectly healthy. The grounds are beautifully undulating and susceptible of improvement.”
The state hired the nationally renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis a principal in the New York-based firm of Town and Davis, to design a modern facility to accommodate the new hospital. This architect had previously designed a similar facility in Staunton, Virginia, but the Legislature did not wish to spend as much as the Virginia project had cost. Note: the facility in Staunton, which retained more of its original architectural features was being converted to historical multi-family dwelling last time I had visited Staunton.
For the next seven years, construction of the new Dix-inspired hospital advanced slowly on a hill overlooking Raleigh, and it was not until 1856 that the facility was ready to admit its first patients, which were admitted February 22, 1856. The cost of the structure, was approximately $185,000 and the cost to operate the hospital was approximately $30,000 per year. Dorothea Dix refused to allow the hospital to be named after herself, although she did permit the site on which it was built to be called Dix Hill in honor of her father. One hundred years after the first patient was admitted, the General Assembly voted to change the name of Dix Hill Asylum to Dorothea Dix Hospital.
Dorothea Dix Hospital no longer serves as a hospital as a new Central Regional Hospital in Butner, NC replaced it over a period of time in the mid-2000’s. The building now serves as office space for portions of DHHS operations.
Below is a progression of photos beginning with early photos/renderings (circa 1860’s) to more recent ones:
Below is a circa. 1900 photo view of the central pavilion of Dorothea Dix Hospital. It featured a dramatic entrance and skylight-topped rotunda. The pavilion was demolished in the early 1950s, and replaced by the modernist-styled McBride administration building.
Below is another view of architect Davis’ central pavilion, as it appeared in the 1940s.
Below we see a broad view of the central pavilion and the east wing of the hospital. All of the architectural embellishments of Davis’ original design were removed in the 1950s.
Below: a current photo of what were the male and female dormitories.
NEXT ISSUE: CIVIL WAR ACTIVITY ON DIX HILL (and other related Dix Hill topics)
Thanks for joining us for this edition of our exploration of our rich VR History and our vanishing ties with historic Dix Hill.
Until next time, fellow rehabbers, you are strongly encouraged to make your own history like the great Dorothea Dix did through your commitment to serving North Carolinians who truly need your help and an extra touch of care and compassion. Capture and live the passion of your profession!
Your Rich VR Heritage Issue #15: Mary E. Switzer—Rehabilitation Services Commissioner and Leader of Excellence
Happy Carolina Friday Team!
This issue, dedicated to three of NC DVRS’ women leaders who very recently retired*, will honor Mary E. Switzer, one of the truly outstanding women pioneering leaders in the field of rehabilitation.
Miss Switzer, through her demonstrated leadership capabilities, forged her own pathway in what was generally regarded to have been a challenging environment for aspiring professional women. It was the post-WWII era, one during which the national and state rehabilitation programs were predominantly managed by men, even though the war had presented the opportunity for women to fully demonstrate their capabilities in diverse situations. In 1950, Mary E. Switzer became director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in the US Department of Health Education and Welfare (where the national VR program resided in contrast with US Dept of Education where it resides today). In 1967, Mary became the first administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service. She retired in 1970 as the highest ranking female official in the federal government and became vice-president of the World Rehabilitation Fund until her death a year later. If you visit the Department of Education in Washington DC, you will notice the building, which was built in 1940 and renamed in her honor in 1972.
The November-December 1971 REACH issue featured a short tribute to Miss Switzer, who, according to previous REACH issues took a strong interest in the North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation program. We have scoured the issues to identify related material within this VR Heritage issue to honor a great pioneer in the national rehabilitation program’s development during an era of unmatched growth and commitment.
The Vocational Rehabilitation Manual of the Federal Security Agency Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (for State Directors) within the NC DVRS archives contains several typed memos signed by Miss Switzer. The first entry within that manual was the one shown below from March 8, 1951 addressing the topic of their recent replacement of numerical occupational codes with an alphabetical 3-digit arrangement that was to correspond to the then-current Dictionary of Occupational Titles, revised March 1949:
Over the span of her career, the NC DVRS publication REACH would routinely contain words of encouragement and Holiday greetings from the national leader. Below are some of the examples of her morale-boosting words of inspiration from the November-December 1955 REACH:
Another snippet of encouragement from the RSA Commissioner of the era (Jan-Feb 1968 REACH):
Miss Switzer made a visit to some of the Western regional facilities according to this July-August 1965 REACH entry:
One final example of Miss Switzer’s inspirational leadership commending NCDVRS’ job well done in the September- October 1965 REACH:
Through this issue, we hope that you have become aware of and inspired by one of the early great national woman leaders within the rehabilitation arena. Today the representation of women leaders is very strong within the Rehabilitation Services Administration and across the national team of vocational rehabilitation program directors, including our very own pedigree of strong women directors from our past, present, and future. Will one of you among the next generation of leaders arise to accept the rewards and challenges of strategically leading and inspiring your team and co-workers? There are never too many individuals demonstrating strong leadership in the many ways that are needed within such a dynamic human service intensive field as ours.
*This issue is written in honor of three great women NC DVRS leaders who retired this past week with distinguished careers, just as Mary E. Switzer did. Connie Barnette, retiring as Director of WorkSource West DVRS training facility; Georgia Gulledge, retiring as Manager of the Charlotte Unit; and Lynn Furr, retiring as a Quality Development Specialist and former Independent Living Services manager and mentor. We all will definitely miss and be impacted by the loss of their significant experience and unique contributions.
Happy Carolina Friday, Team!
For this edition of the VR Heritage tour, we rifled through some of the documents in the “VR Vault” and found something that we felt would be of interest to you—a 20 page document entitled “Orientation Program for Rehabilitation Counselors.” Dated December, 1966. This particular copy belonged to Fred Hughes, who was assistant regional director in the western region when he retired approximately 1999.
Some interesting notations from our review:
In honor of the excellent work and passion that our Specialist for Transition Services Stephanie Hanes is demonstrating to take the NC DVRS Transition Services to new heights, our final submission for this edition is to share an article from the September-October 1966 edition of REACH touting the NC DVRS Transition Program and partnership with NC Department of Public Instruction that existed even then.
Once again, we hope you have gained additional perspective and respect for those who served our fellow North Carolinians before us and left us timeless pragmatic wisdom that largely still applies to our business. Let’s see just how much we can accomplish together to give those that follow us something to remember us by as we successfully temper and apply these timeless principles to this new era of rehabilitation with all of the additional tools and resources available to us!
Happy Friday, DVRS Team Supreme!
In recognition of February being Black History Month, this week’s edition pays special tribute to just a few of the many African Americans that NC DVRS has served or who have served as important team members in our Division’s quest to improve the lives of all North Carolinians with disabilities that request our assistance with empowering them toward a better destiny.
Most of these success stories come from the chronicles of our archived REACH publications spanning from 1953 through 1972. We will conclude our brief today with a more recent celebration of one of several success stories presented at last year’s NCRA C. Odell Tyndall Memorial Legislative Breakfast. Remember to mark your calendars for June 7, 2017 7:00 a.m. for this year’s event. We will be putting together a program soon and inviting you and our NC Legislators to attend and celebrate your work early that morning in the Legislative Cafeteria, downtown Raleigh—look for it!
The first success story featured in this edition comes from the May-June 1954 REACH publication:
Now….the rest of the story: Apparently, Clifford, the multi-talented individual he was, applied his talents with lasting zeal as a folk artist in Elkin, NC. There is a longstanding Clifford Morrison Memorial Art Competition and show and scholarship in his honor, as per these links:
September 1, 2017 is the next annual event.
Yet another example of the VR Return on Investment—an investment long ago continues to give dividends as scholarships going on to help educate other young artists!
Our next amazing success story comes to us from the Nov-Dec 1966:
The Rest of the Story: Amazingly, thanks to historians who had the vision and took the effort to record this oral history, it does exist!
If you wish to click on the link below, Mr. Hinton tells his story about his accident with the sawmill about 4:50 into the recording here. He also discusses his rehabilitation of going to school and describes his counselor, and talks about tearing up when he recalls the inspiration he received by others (possibly referencing his counselor). Class president of his school. He later majored in Mathematics and Chemistry in college. The record indicates that he was a Health Services worker, but indicated in the recording that he taught Physics at an institution in Auburn, NY. Later he learned about prosthetics and orthotics at Duke and then taught about this health science at NYU. Amazingly, he beat the New York City discriminatory practices against teachers with disabilities—very interesting story, including funny enough-- political maneuvering. Worth listening to! Another VR investment paying forward multiples in returns!
The next story celebrates one of our VR educators in the May-June 1969:
Unfortunately, Mr. Harring is no longer with us, as per below:
Aug. 4, 1927-Feb. 24, 2011
James Lloyd Herring, 83, of 110 Glenn Drive, passed away Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.
Another more recent success story from the central part of the state, as presented at the 2016 NCRA C. O’Dell Tyndall Memorial Legislative Breakfast:
S. K., a gentleman who received services from the Division tells his story about how DVRS and his rehabilitation counselor Vickie Winters was there for him. It was a time when he could no longer perform his computer IT work until he received assistance with orthopedic physical restoration and therapy services and additional certifications to help him increase his marketable skills in network storage, which was more suitable to suit his physical requirements and in higher demand. S. K. has since become successfully employed with a major employer and provider of cloud computing services within North Carolina. Congratulations to S.K. and to Vickie Winters! Don’t miss the upcoming 2017 event scheduled for June 7, 2017, where you are bound to hear of current success stories presented in person.
Check back here on our Events page for the announcements and also be on the lookout for email invitations!
We hope this week’s tribute has again provided you yet another expanded perspective on who we are and the worthwhile work we do for all North Carolinians with disabilities who request our hand in elevating them to higher ground. Further, we hope this may also spark your interest in pursuing the knowledge that history has in store, beckoning for you to discover, just as we have in preparing this brief for your enjoyment.
Your Rich VR Heritage Brief #12: VR Valentines Edition - VR's Spark leads to a Sparkling Enterprise Thriving Today
Happy Friday Team VR!
Valentine’s day often summons thoughts of love, (com)passion, chocolates-- and jewelry. Today’s special edition has most of those elements as presented through the story of two of NC DVR’s past success stories that are inter-related. If you wish to round this out and enhance your reading pleasure, consider partaking in the pleasure of savoring some chocolate. One rehabilitant’s success created a platform to allow re-investing in the success of another. This individual was also honored by the Governor of North Carolina at some point in this progression. Another important point is the lasting power that the investment that NC DVRS made in a young gentleman, Lloyd Collier Sr., who at least sent him to Spencer School of Watchmaking in Spencer, NC. According to the linked article, this school was heavily utilized by NC DVRS at some point in its past.
Lloyd Collier Sr., whose story is featured below, used the Spark provided by VR to ignite his sparkling legacy in jewelry that continues today as a successful jewelry store in Whiteville, NC with $1.8 Million in annual revenue (14 employees). One of those career employees for 56 years was his son, Lloyd Collier Jr., who recently passed away March 16, 2016.
We wish to point out that according to the article below, Lloyd Collier Sr. was a youth who successfully transitioned into employment through effective introduction to VR services—not a new concept at all but something we continually strive to improve!
Lloyd Collier Sr.’s story is followed by another great presentation about another individual named Cedric who became employed by Mr. Collier, who had compassion on his fellow rehabilitant and loaned him $500 at some point to become self-sufficient through the establishment of another jewelry operation in Elizabethtown, NC. I could not determine that this jewelry store remains in business. Probably transferred ownership years ago.
Lloyd Collier’s Success Story from REACH July-August 1954 edition:
Lloyd Collier’s Recognition by Governor Hodges featured in Nov-Dec 1955 REACH Issue:
The following success story from the March-April 1956 REACH issue is of a gentleman Cedric, who also became self-sufficient as a benefactor of VR services, then Lloyd’s success and friendship: VR’s “spark” lights a spreading fire of success.
This concludes this special Valentine’s edition. Don’t forget to remember your loved ones, and perhaps renew your love of this profession. We hope this has provoked some introspection and an important reminder that you/your team and its (com)passion are the true basis of the “VR Spark” that can ignite a legacy of success!
Your Rich VR Heritage Brief #11: The Quest of Individuals With Disabilities-- Gains made but Goals Not Yet Achieved
Happy Friday!—where’d the week go?!?
This week’s brief will tie in the history of the national disability rights efforts with some highlights of the efforts that NC DVRS (and NCRA) have made toward addressing architectural and employment barriers. I simply am not doing this topic justice within this brief, so a more exhaustive review of the NC efforts will most likely surface in future briefs.
I want to thank several of those who share an appreciation of our history for sending an incredible link that presents history of the ADA and disability rights movement. If you were not fortunate enough to have been notified of this, I saved it here to share with you. It was featured from this Google Search launch site:
An interesting note is that it begins with featuring highlights of the life of yet another heroic individual, Ed Roberts, who was a polio survivor and heroic like others featured in these briefs. Against all odds, he survived, became educated following advocating for improved disability services at UC Berkley and formed a historic and nationally impactful Center for Independent Living.
I believe our former director Linda Harrington had spent an early period of her career at the same center. I do wish to point out that even in the presentation near the end, there is a NC DVRS and NCATP connection. There is a photo of one of the individuals that our agency has assisted and has been featured in NCATP’s award-winning video called “An Accessible Life—A Short Film.” The film was featured at the GREAT conference in Greenville a few years ago.
She and her parents are very active in the community and were also recently assisting with this past year’s Santa’s Hackers event. She has taken an interest in advocacy and participated in a Washington, DC internship with some of the disability advocacy legends. This apparently is a photograph that captured that moment. Maybe she will boldly carry on “the quest!”
Returning to NCDVR’s heritage and longstanding tradition of advocating for physical access and equal access to employment opportunities, I have discovered the following notable items featured next. I learned that NCRA had a committee to address architectural barriers, when very few property owners even thought their properties might happen to exclude some important members of society. NCRA currently has a commission to address client’s rights and access. Many of the projects have been financial support for increasing access to recreational opportunities or improving other resources used heavily by individuals with disabilities. May the past work of Grady and others inspire us as we move forward over the course of “the quest.”
From a 1972 NC DVRS REACH issue:
Also from a Nov-Dec 1972 REACH issue--there is additional documentation of NC DVRS’ advocacy work for improved building codes and architectural barrier removal. For additional documentation of the respectful work of our predecessors, please review the tribute to John Dalrymple: Independent Living Crusader in Brief #8. Individuals who physically could not access government and community resources, their homes or communities at large could not begin to consider accessing employment opportunities. DVRS counselors and staff did whatever it took to be the “voice of the voiceless” of that era.
From the Nov-Dec 1972 REACH issue:
Also the Ed Roberts-ADA presentation highlights the accessibility of the campus of UC-Berkley during that era. Notably, North Carolina and NC DVRS were also on that cutting edge with their approach to improving campuses and campus facilities for those with the most significant physical disabilities. Many of our counselors from Laurinburg office (Denise Mckoy, Bill Gurkin) and Lumberton UM (Sandra Britt) (and I who served the students there technologically) can attest to the wonderful opportunities that these students had to participate in a university education at St. Andrews College. It had a national draw for such students at its peak period. Here is a historical snippet featuring the initial excitement of this offering:
The wonderful change in this educational setting accessibility improvement we recognize as greatly improved is partially the result of the Americans with Disabilities Act Title II which helped reinforce the legal requirements that schools, universities were to be architecturally and programmatically accessible. Disability services departments are currently common and well developed on campuses, which has made our work in that area less challenging. This part of “the quest” has made considerable strides. As a gage--remember our gentleman “The Judge” from Brief #9 who had to overturn the UNC-CH decision denying him admission to their undergraduate academic program due to his blindness?
What appears to be that difficult, slippery part of the hill climb to achieve the zenith of “the quest” is the EMPLOYMENT COMPONENT. Again, representatives and former directors (Claude Myer) is shown beside NC Governor Scott of the era promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities. This was the pre-ADA era—NC DVRS again being the “voice of the voiceless” of the era.
Further, even when the ADA was passed in 1990, DVRS counselors (and engineers) became knowledgeable and advocated for the newly granted employment rights of their consumers and also served as a valuable resource and educator to businesses and employers both from an employment rights standpoint and an architectural barrier removal standpoint. We are to be commended for rising to meet the needs and represent those who may be disadvantaged through the lack of understanding of disability in general, capabilities of individuals with disabilities, and how their employment positively impacts the workforce and economy. Since largely, but not completely, “the quest” to increase access to employment has been successful, OUR CHARGE TODAY (reinforced by the WIOA) IS TO CONTINUE TO ADDRESS EDUCATING EMPLOYERS AND ADVOCATING FOR QUALITY EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN COMPETITIVE INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTS!
It is our hope that this week’s edition has again provided a helpful perspective of where we are in “the quest” and what our important role is in addressing what appears to be one of the remaining barriers individuals with disabilities face—EMPLOYMENT. Thank you for choosing to serve with us as we address this challenge together!