Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA
July stands out to us here at HandyPro for a number of reasons. July is the month we celebrate Independence Day and honor our military veterans, but yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) being passed into law. To pay homage to all of these, we sat down with disabled veteran David Cox, the man behind the AmericanMilitaryBenefits.org website.
David served in the Marine Corps from 1990 - 1994. When he returned to civilian life in Cleveland, he noticed that veterans would flock to the local VA hospital looking for help, but many weren't receiving what they needed.
"I would see probably 100 or so people sitting in the lobby," said Cox, "all veterans, and they're looking for help from something, whether it's just a hot dog or a benefit or doctors or whatever they needed. They're just sitting there. They don't have any appointments; they're just looking for help. They would sit there all day, and some would get some help but most wouldn't. And at the end of the day, unfortunately, they would be told that they had to leave at 4:30pm, and they [could] come back tomorrow and try again. I would walk through there and I would be like, 'There's got to be a way that I could do something to help veterans.'"
"I want to be clear that I am a supporter of the VA administration and what they can do," Coxe went on, "but a lot of times their hands are tied and/or they don't have the capability of helping these military people when they come back from war or from wherever. You have so many military people out there who have PTSD or traumatic brain injury or all this stuff, and to be honest with you, we're not prepared for it. We don't have the education for the doctors to help these individuals. We don't have the programs to help these individuals, and we have people that sit at the front door to greet you and they don't know what to do. They're turning these veterans down for help. They're sending them back home. And just [for] example with PTSD, that's why we have such a high rate of suicide of American Military people at this time."
Creating a New Support Hub
After seeing so many veterans in need, David got the idea to create an online support center where vets could go to get answers about what benefits were available to them and receive other important information that could serve them. The bottom line is that Cox has a passion for helping people, and he is incredibly driven to do so. The beginning of his mission statement on the AmericanMilitaryBenefits.org website reads: "As a fellow disabled Veteran, I will be 'Relentless' in researching and posting all benefits available to our American Military community."
"I use that word 'relentless' a lot," said Coxe. "A lot of people don't, and I think it's a powerful word. See, you can only do so much with money as far as having the money to operate your organization. If you don't have that passion behind you, you're not really helping as many people as you possibly can. I'm going to do this whether I'm rich, poor, indifferent. I'm going to sit there, find out somebody's needs and I'm going to find a way to get them some type of help whether it's through my organization or multiple organizations here in Cleveland, Ohio. That's my goal."
Building the Network
David's goal is to grow his website to where any need that a veteran has can be filled by participating individuals, businesses and organizations. "My website originally started as [me] trying to help connect veterans with the proper people that can get their benefits moving forward, helped or anything done with at all," he shared. "And when I was doing this, my passion expanded where I will help veterans with whatever they need. … I want to [get] my website where you are a veteran, you need help with a painter [for example] and you … click Ohio, then you click Cuyahoga County and then everything you possibly need is going to be right there[.] Painting, auto repair, attorneys, lawn care--anything you can think of is all right there, available and it's provided by mostly veteran-owned [businesses]. [I want to build this database] to be in every state where they can go on there for free and get whatever they want."
"Right now," he went on, "what I do personally is I know people in the area, like I've got a gentleman who does free plumbing as far as he does the labor, they pay for the parts. I've got an auto store that pays for labor, [the vet] pay for parts. Those are the types of things I'm speaking of that will really help veterans get through their day, get through their month, get through their year. … HandyPro goes out of their way to help veterans get what they need as far as construction within their homes for, let's say, getting into a shower or getting into a bath or making the doorway wider for them to get inside with their wheelchairs. … I need HandyPro's help. I can't do it all on my own. … I need the local VFWs, American Legion. I need my networking where I connected with guys that specifically find out where a veteran's benefits are and whether they can push them through or not for them. … It's networking; everything is networking."
If you or someone you know could be one of these veteran-supporting businesses or individuals, call David Coxe at 216-403-1563 or find him on the web at AmericanMilitaryBenefits.org.
"Go the local hospital and help out," Cox suggested. "Volunteer when you can. Give money if you can. Do whatever it takes to help one veteran. I'm not asking you to help a million veterans; I'm asking you to help one. And if you help one and I help one and they help one, now we're going to make a dent."
Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand in hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at www.handypro.com or call us at 800-942-6394.Follow Us