Letter to the Editor: A promise to remind the community

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To the Editor:

Hi. I made a promise on Sep. 19, 2021 to my husband, Jim Matthews, to remind the community, that he loved, of the need for patience and understanding for those who struggle with disabilities of all kinds.

Jim worked hard to make our community more aware and accessible to everyone. From leading the petition to get the crosswalk added from the Dollar General/Windfield Park neighborhood across US 40 to consulting on accessibility for Beckenholdt Park, Jim worked hard to make Greenfield a more accessible place. He wrote several articles and letters to the editor about many subjects but the most dear to him was the inclusion of people with disabilities in all activities that able bodied people take for granted. Some of the strongest issues he wrote on were:

*walking/wheeling down a sidewalk or street that is uneven and not worrying about falling or getting stuck

*no ramps in high or low places to enter businesses or curb cutouts in sidewalks to get to those businesses

*being able to get into your vehicle without having to wait for the person who parked over the line to come out and move

*waiting to deploy a side discharge ramp to get your wheelchair into your vehicle because someone parked in the striped no parking space or too close to your vehicle

*trying to enter a building whose doors are too narrow or too heavy to open or narrow isles once you are in the building

*rude gestures and blaring horns while a person with a disability tries to cross the street

*restrooms – disabled restroom is too small or people without disabilities using the dedicated stall for handicapped individuals

These are just a few of the struggles people with disabilities face everyday. If you could find it in your heart to extend a reminder to Greenfield to remember those who need a little extra compassion I would be grateful. Jim passed away a year ago and I made the promise to remind the wonderful people of Greenfield how much he cared for this community and how others can help people with disabilities in the most simple of ways.

Thank you and Take Care

Cathy Matthews

Greenfield

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