PossAbilities scholarships help make dreams come true
Briana Walker, a model, motivational speaker, and athlete, is delighted with the handcycle she received during the PossAbilities event. Made possible by the generosity of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, it will make it possible for her to perform at a higher level in athletic competition.
For 10 men and women living with disabilities, Christmas came early this year. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the PossAbilities program, headquartered on the East Campus of Loma Linda University Medical Center, presented them with scholarships to meet academic, recreational, and home access needs.
The awards were presented at the third annual PossAbilities Scholarship Awards Dinner, held on Thursday, November 30, at the Mitten Building in Redlands. Featured speaker at the event was Richard Devylder, deputy director of the California Department of Rehabilitation. Mr. Devylder was born with no arms or legs, yet works full time, commutes by himself to his work in Sacramento, lives independently, and swims for 45 minutes to an hour each day. Mr. Devylder also spoke for the weekly LLU chapel program on November 29.
During the scholarship dinner, Willie Stewart, coordinator of PossAbilities, unveiled a plaque celebrating the life of Joe Tinker, which is being added to the Hall of Heroes on the East Campus of Loma Linda University Medical Center. A double amputee, Mr. Tinker dreamed one day of competing in the Ironman Hawaii tri
After Willie Stewart (left) inducted Joe Tinker into the PossAbilities Hall of Heroes posthumously, Nancy and George Tinker (right) tell how their son, Joe, benefited from the PossAbilities program. “PossAbilities helped Joe find meaning in his life,” they said. The first Joe Tinker scholarship supported the participation of Akian Aleong, a double amputee, in the Ironman Hawaii world championship in October. Aleong finished second in the handcycle division of the event.
athlon. He died before he could fulfill that dream. But Akian Aleong, also a double amputee, did cross the finish line in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii last month, placing second in the handcycle division. His road to Ironman was paid by the Joe Tinker Scholarship Fund established at Loma Linda University Medical Center. The fund will provide an annual scholarship to fulfill the dream of a disabled member of PossAbilities.
Mr. Tinker’s parents, George and Nancy, were on hand to participate in the unveiling. “When Joe loved, he loved deeply, and he loved Loma Linda,” says Nancy Tinker. “It is our hope that Joe’s story will help others to discover their own possibilities.”
At the event, Mr. Stewart, also presented a sponsorship check to the Lady Warriors, which gives women an opportunity to compete in wheelchair basketball. PossAbilities already sponsors the nationally ranked men’s wheelchair basketball team, the Rolling Bears, as well as the Crown Rugby team for disabled athletes. Both also received sponsorship checks, made possible by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
PossAbilities, a free membership organization, provides social and recreational opportunities for people with permanent disabilities. Title sponsorship support comes from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) also helps to support PossAbilities events.
For information on membership or how you can help, please call the PossAbilities office at (909) 558-6384.
By Marilyn Thomsen
Richard Devylder, deputy director of the California State Department of Rehabilitation, inspired those attending the PossAbilities Scholarship Dinner with what he has achieved despite being born without arms or legs. “I wanted to live a life committed to people with disabilities,” he says. Working under Gov. Schwarzenegger, Mr. Devylder loves being a part of policymaking for the disabled.
Michael Jackson, MPH (far left), administrator of the East Campus, along with members of Team PossAbilities (at right), thank representatives of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for their ongoing support of the PossAbilities program.