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Archive for Sunday, March 29, 2009

Couple honored for helping people with disabilities

Recipients funded Beach Center on Disability at KU

March 29, 2009

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Longtime community supporters Ross and Marianna Beach are the recipients of the Bob Dole Humanitarian Award, given by Kansas University’s department of special education.

The award recognizes the couple’s contributions to benefit people with disabilities, said Chriss Walther-Thomas, professor and chairwoman of special education.

It is intended to recognize people with Kansas connections whose efforts have enhanced the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their families. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole received the first award last year.

Walther-Thomas said the award recognizes the couple’s efforts in funding the Beach Center on Disability at KU and an endowed chair there, as well as their generous efforts throughout the community.

“It has just been an extremely good partnership when it comes to their commitment to social causes,” Walther-Thomas said of the couple.

The Beach family has owned Douglas County Bank since 1964, and Ross Beach is board chairman emeritus at the bank. He also has served as an engineer and pilot, and is a U.S. Navy veteran. Marianna Beach has served as a director of the Midwest Arts Council and, with her husband, created the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University.

Comments

begin60 5 years, 5 months ago

This article needs more facts, support and evidence. Mr. Hyland states that Ross and Marianna Beach won an award for serving people with disabilities but seems to suggest their primarily contribution was financial. No problem, people buy awards and public recognition all the time. The post below mine perhaps captures more of the true story.

On a less sardonic note, the political activist bell hooks correctly states in her wise and moving book Teaching to Transgress that "Authentic help means that all who are involved help each other mutually,growing together" in a common effort to achieve positive change.

It would be great if more Larryville residents could adopt such an insightful definition of" help" and stop so often treating it as something that can be condescendingly defined and imposed by someone from outside who often wholly fails to understand the recipient's true needs (especially the legitimate needs for independence and respect). If you claim you're helping that must be true, right? Not really, it's incredibly patronizing and bigoted when you invade the privacy of strangers on the street with the presumptuous attitude they might appreciate an unknown interloper pawing them over,grasping their arm or taking possession of their bags. If you can't approach someone you don't know on the cultured level of dignity, brains and mutual competence instead of a mere implied brute physical capacity for manual labor then unless they are bleeding or in obvious distress, please respect reasonable personal boundaries. Just mind your own p's and q's and don't be such dyslexic, ignorant people-readers.

"Need Help" strikes my educated and cultured sensibility as a mindless, pre-programmed and insulting way to begin a conversation with a nonacquaintance. You are claiming you are capable and the other person needy, no? You are cruelly assigning an unwanted and bigoted role to another. What an offensive power dynamic.

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habeogladium 5 years, 5 months ago

As a person with a disability, I would like to state that begin60's comments do not reflect the feelings of everyone in the disability community. While it is true that many people with disabilities experience unwanted help forced upon them, the mere offer of help is NOT inherently offensive. Personally, I would rather have someone offer me help before I'm bleeding or in obvious distress. This gives me the opportunity to either accept or refuse that help in a courteous way. Usually I do not need assistance from people on the street because of my disability, but on rare occasion I run into situations where I cannot open a heavy door, or I drop something out of my reach. Offering assistance politely to someone that looks like they need it, regardless of whether or not they have a disability, and politely accepting the refusal of that assistance is part of what makes us a civilized society. Sometimes I offer help to someone that does not have a disability. This does not mean I think less of that person, it means that because I see there might be a need, I offer to help, but only if that person wants to accept that help. The moral of this post is that while forcing help on someone, regardless of whether or not they have a disability is demeaning, insulting and sometimes dangerous, offering help in a respectful way and accepting the refusal of that help is not an inherently bad thing to do.

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