History of the ADA
Why is the Disabled Services Office in Military Affairs Department? I am very proud to tell you there is a long history of barriers being removed for the disability community by our disabled veterans.
In the first half of the twentieth century, as thousands of WWI soldiers returned home, the first vocational rehabilitation acts were passed in the 1920’s to provide services to these WWI veterans with newly acquired disabilities.
But perhaps the biggest changes within disability rights came with the civil rights movement in the 1960’s followed by the Vietnam War. This is where an American soldier named; Richard Pimental, made an incredible difference in our Nation, as one of the major architects of the American with Disability Act, the ADA.
Richard survived a suicide mission rocket attack which left him with traumatic hearing loss. He returned home almost completely deaf. He survived his injuries and after coming back to the States, went to college and received his education at Portland State through a secured rehabilitation grant from the Veteran’s Administration.
While at college, Richard found himself in the company of other students with disabilities and he observed their struggles with facility access, discrimination and employment barriers. This was his motivation to be one of America’s most influential champions for disability legislation and rights. This Vietnam veteran was the voice of many. Richard’s last extensive work was a training program for employers, hiring disabled Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. His Employee training has been presented to tens of thousands as a best practice.
So when we address the disability concerns in America we know, as history has taught us, our veterans lead the way in removing barriers for a community that at times needs the best America has, a veteran. As you can see we are a perfect fit in the Military Affairs, Veterans and Disabled Services Department.