Isaac is a senior at Union College. He was born in Calcutta, India and moved to the United States when he was a year old. In his free time he enjoys being outdoors cycling and adventuring. The clock finally clicked down to double zero

and the game was over. My dad’s basketball team had just won the final game of

a long-weekend tournament in Seattle. He came over to the sidelines and took me

out on the court with him and his other teammates to celebrate and take


I was used to this

scenario. Not to brag, but dad is definitely a champion. In my mind’s eye, he’s

unstoppable. Whether on the court on weekends or on the many church boards he

was a part of, he always made a full effort and taught me the power of a good

name. He also taught me the importance of a well-knit family. Everywhere I went people knew my dad and spoke highly of him and were proud to be his friend.

The church also forms part of this support network, without which success and optimism cannot be reached. We should support all who have special needs and give them opportunities."


What I haven’t told

you is that my dad is disabled. Dad is in a wheelchair. A bullet shot in the

middle of a fire fight in Vietnam bruised his spinal cord. He has been in a

wheelchair since 1969.

Dad made every

effort to be involved in his community and didn’t let a physical disability

hinder that. This desire to be a part of the community helped my siblings and

me to never gain a negative view of disability. We learned by example.

My constant

exposure to hospitals and Dad’s wheelchair basketball league taught me a lot

about people with disabilities. Each has a unique story. They each have unique

struggles, but what I found from those who were successful was that a great

attitude and a great support network made all the difference. My parents went out

of their way to support each other in their endeavors.  

I’ve learned that

the family is the go-to, the biggest part of the network. They’re there to do

what needs to be done in both the good and bad times. The church also forms part of this support network, without which success and optimism cannot be reached. We should support all who have special needs and give them opportunities. Also, we need to support the family that is supporting the person. It’s a two-faceted thing: the individual and the family need different types of support, but both are vital.

Sometimes we didn’t

always feel welcome when visiting other churches, but in reality those members

might merely not have known how to act around him. In keeping with the

attitude of the “unstoppable,” he usually brushed that off. I’ve never seen

something bother him too much. He has always been comfortable with his

abilities and the fact that he belongs to a church that gives him the support

and the opportunity to be successful.

My Hero

Mom received weird

looks ever so often, and people questioning why she married my father, but I’m

not aware of any outright discrimination aimed at her. She treats Dad like he

was a normal person. Growing up, dad’s wheelchair never factored in. She made

sure we knew and respected him as the head of the family.

He’s my dad–first

and last. From support to advice, he goes out of his way to give me the best

opportunities available.

We all face

disability in many forms every day: poverty, illiteracy, mental and physical

disabilities. Church members don’t always know how to act around people with

these challenges. Jesus’ ministry provides the greatest example of how to act

around them and why our church should care about them. He always reached out to

those with the many disabilities and looked past their disabilities and into

their character, drawing them to Him, and in turn, putting them on a path to



thought...Who is my family?