Former President H.W. Bush remembered for fighting for people with disabilities

Ceremony held for Americans with Disabilities Act

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A major part of former President George H.W. Bush’s legacy is when he signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“It was now we have a law that ensures our civil rights. We’ll have more opportunity. We’ll be equal in the eyes of society. We’ll have a chance in making the American dream," said Graham Sisson, the state ADA coordinator director.

It formally said people could not be turned down just because they have a disability.

“They were excited. They were exhilarated," said Sisson. “They have to be given a shot to show that they can do the job.”

Thursday afternoon, Gov. Kay Ivey recognized the achievements of employees with disabilities and businesses in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services hosted the ceremony.

“I don’t want any Alabamian to abandon their dreams because of a disability,” said Ivey.

At the ceremony, people said there might have not been a celebration without the signing of the act.

“Sometimes people forget, so they need to be gently reminded or made more aware year after year I live with a disability every day," said Sisson. "So, every day I’m reminded every day of some of the obstacles and some of the challenges.”

Brandon Wilson was a recipient of the small business employee of the year award, after a difficult recovery from an accident.

“A combination of bad luck and inexperience left me paralyzed from the shoulder blades down,” Wilson said.

Since then he has pursued an engineering degree at Auburn University and works as a wireless software engineer with Digital Engineering Solutions in Huntsville.

“And I’m kind of learning the ins and outs of the business so I can eventually branch out on my own," he said.

Ivey wants to encourage businesses to hire people with disabilities.

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