Spirit of Ability

The Spirit of Ability Award is annually given to those who dedicate time, compassion and display a servant’s spirit to change the lives of those with physical disabilities.

The Colony High School
Dallas, TX

A community comes together to give mobility freedom to a family who has endured unimaginable tragedy.

Damon Parks
Indianapolis, Indiana

A gunshot wound paralyzed Damon Parks, but he turned tragedy into a message of triumph as a motivational speaker.

Ben Trockman
Evansville, Indiana

Ben Trockman was awarded the first Ralph W. Braun Spirit of Ability Award of 2015 for his work breaking down barriers to employment for people with disabilities.

Stories

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The Colony High School
Dallas, TX

Brian Bravo is a high school senior who will graduate from The Colony High School this spring. Eight years ago he was in a car accident that killed his mother, his uncle and his sister – and left him with severe brain damage and paralysis.

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Damon Parks
Indianapolis, Indiana

Damon Parks was paralyzed as a result of a gunshot wound in 1996 as an innocent bystander of a robbery attempt. Following his injury, he became a motivational speaker, addressing schools, colleges, penitentiaries and churches with his anti-violence messages.

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Kristen Cameron
Toronto, Canada

Kristen Cameron was the victim of a hit-and-run, by a drunk driver, that threw her over 45 feet from her bike and broke her neck and back. Following her injury, Kristen became an active participant in wheelchair rugby teams and wheelchair racing. A driver’s license is also in the works, and she is beginning to speak at local schools and events about the dangers of drunk driving.

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Holly Koester
Lexington, Ohio

Holly Koester was reporting to her new Army post when she hit a road obstruction and flipped her vehicle, resulting in a spinal cord injury that left her without the use of her legs. Since her injury, Koester has competed in 23 National Veteran’s Wheelchair Games, has completed a marathon in all 50 states, serves on the board and as spokesperson for the Buckeye chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America and as Sports Director for the chapter, and was a Cheerio’s cereal box honoree in 2008.

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Access Leisure
Sonoma, California

Access Leisure is an organization that provides all community members with disabilities or serious injuries, ill and wounded veterans, and active duty members of the military with over 500 different sports and recreational experiences annually. All-year-round, the group is out in the city putting on camping trips, baseball tournaments, power soccer, and anything else you can imagine for people ages 1 to 100.

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Triumph Foundation
Fontana, California

Triumph Foundation makes it a daily goal to provide a pillar of support to anyone in California, or the surrounding area, who has sustained a spinal cord injury.

“When people get hurt, their whole life changes,” said Andrew Skinner, Founder of Triumph Foundation. “The most important step is maintaining a positive attitude.”

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Spirit Of Ability – Ben Trockman 2015

Ben Trockman
Evansville, Indiana

Ben Trockman broke his neck as a result of a motocross accident at the age of 17. The life ahead of him was very different than what he’d imagined for himself. Ben didn’t dwell on that reality for long.  He graduated from high school, then earned a Communications degree from the University of Southern Indiana. That degree helped refine Ben’s natural gift for writing, speaking and persuading influencers to enact legislation or policies for positive change.

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