People With Disabilities Are Winners Year-Round

To The Reader’s Forum:

I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for taking $90 million out of the budget and giving 60 percent of it to the Buffalo Bills, simply because he thinks providing for people with disabilities is a want, not a top priority for government.

I am disabled myself, I have services rendered to me, many of my friends are a part of a myriad of organizations catering to disabilities such as Aspire and STEL. My own life, you could say is centered around people like me. Not only do they provide day hab programs and sheltered work, but provide job coaching/OJT when many companies don’t have the time to train people, provide transportation for those of us who don’t drive, provide drivers education, and are generally a supportive bunch.

I have seen many of the staff leave over the years I’ve dealt with these organizations because they couldn’t provide a living for their families on the wages these organizations provide. Thanks to you, Mr Governor, these organizations will not be able to compete for talent, and may end up losing talent.

Why should organizations like these settle for people who may not care about many of the people they’re hired to serve? Why affect the quality of our lives for the sake of millionaire football players and the likes of rich Hollywood-esque folks, who are here one day, gone the next?

We’re also very productive in our communities: Going to events like Clint Black, spending our money at retailers, living on our own and with our families. Better than supporting football wouldn’t you say? We’re always a winning team, all year round. And we’re a need. Imagine if a loved one of yours had a lifelong disability or came back from serving a tour in need of services but couldn’t because you considered it a want. Would this be fair to them?

Russell Fowler