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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thanks to 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Each December in this column, I pay tribute to the special people I featured in a television segment the previous 12 months.

And so, I'd like to say thank you to:

Eighty-five-year-old Liz Bowman, who proudly proclaims she has attended the Indiana State Fair every summer for 60 years.

Not just every year, but every day of the event. She arrives first thing in the morning and stays to the bitter end.

Actually, it's a sweet end because she caps off each visit with an elephant ear.

No hay grows under her feet. She rides the Ferris wheel, plays the midway games and strolls through the pig barn.

Did her three children accompany her to the Fair each year?

"Yes, they did," she asserts, "whether they wanted to or not."

How about those really muggy days? "I eat the heat," she boasts, "along with a few deep-fried Oreos."

Kacie Weldy of Brownsburg, who wanted to run the Mini-Marathon, but race officials weren't so quick to let that happen.

Kacie is visually impaired, which would preclude her from the event unless she was tethered to a friend to guide her along the route.

But Kacie's best buddy was Rei, her black Lab service dog. Kacie maintained that Rei was superior to a human running companion because the dog was more aware of the terrain and Kacie's gait. Kacie persevered with her request and race officials conceded.

The duo didn't win, but spectators applauded the twosome for breaking down barriers that discriminate against the disabled.

Tim Hills, now a high school student, who was born with cerebral palsy but soon set the stage for an active and productive life.

In fact, at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, he did exactly that: set the stage. Having enjoyed the performing arts since he was a youngster, Tim became intrigued with artistic design.

He shared his passion with producer Michael Layton, who was gearing up for the dinner theatre's newest show, High School Musical.

Tim used his computer, which is retrofitted to accommodate his disability, to create his vision of the set. Layton was impressed and incorporated many of Tim's ideas into the final concept.

"It's a great story," said Layton tearfully, "something out of a movie." His metaphor was mixed, but not his emotions.

Let's just say this is a hard act to follow.

Theresa Lucas, whose congenital joint and muscle disease makes full use of her limbs impossible.

But she has never felt limited in what she could achieve.

Creating her artwork, for example, requires holding the paintbrush with her mouth.

Many of her oils have been displayed and sold without the buyer knowing the unorthodox method employed. Recently she made a DVD of her daily routine accomplishing the simplest of tasks -- like putting on socks or brushing her teeth.

Only then did she objectively see herself as being different.

When I asked her what she wasn't capable of doing, she was stuck for an answer. "I'll have to get back to you on that," she said, as she tossed me a Sarah Palin wink.

The Indiana School for the Deaf, that could not fill an entire baseball roster until several players from the Noblesville Babe Ruth League stepped up to the plate.

Combining deaf and hearing athletes into one squad was going to require some real team work.

The coach, who is deaf, realized what a challenge this would be, but like all the parents, he saw it as a learning experience where everybody wins -- a rarity in competitive sports.

Initially, practice was uncomfortable for the players, but ultimately the team batted its way to a winning season.

Had a lineup like this ever existed before? As far as anyone knew, it was unheard of.