Better now than never -- Please accept my apologies for the delay.
On March 22nd, 2012, The Ability Center (TAC) hosted its' VIP Launch Party. What an amazing night! The evening truly could not have gone better, and as always, we owe a gigantic "thank you" to those who made the evening possible. Individuals and Milwaukee based companies have graciously opened their hearts time and again to ensure the fulfillment of our mission. 99% of the people we have met over this three year journey has not only embraced the vision, but they have rolled out the red carpet to help people with disabilities and their families. March 22nd was a live testament to the previous statement.
Over 250 guests were in attendance (from as far as D.C. and L.A.) at the Hyatt Regency and introduced to the VIP treatment (I think I've heard more about how great the food was, than the entirety of the event/vision -- wink, wink) thanks to the; 11 companies who donated prizes and services to make the event shine, 5 additional companies; NYCE, Bakery Tilly, Davis Kuelthau, Home Care Medical who sponsored the event and the 32 volunteers who pulled it all together.
Prostar Surfaces brought the basketball hoop and athletic floor, making a mini-TAC experience possible for all. The Bucks brought the entertainemnt with the Hoop Troop and Energee Dancers. Invacare/Top End brought adaptive equipment, sportchairs ($2,400) and handcycles (up to $6,000) to educate the crowd on the adpative equipment needs of individuals with physical disABILITIES. TechnoGym showcased their vision for TAC's fitness center with 31% accessible cardio equipment and 56% accessible strength equipment (a typical gym has 1-5% accessible equipment). And Cineviz and Clearwing Productions brought all the elements together and pushed play. Let the show begin...
Sue Northey of Branigan Communications brought the crowd up to speed showcasing the discovery of who TAC is -- part of the process that took place through their brilliant brand strategy work. Sue & Tom -- You have hearts of gold!
Next up, Jason Evans, of GS Design, warmed up the crowd, not only with his kind words about myself, but through his presentation of our brand new website (also launched on March 22nd) -- their work is impeccable and the team was amazing. I can never thank them enough. Amie, you've become a friend. Jim and Nick, you have become a mentor. Steve and Andrea, you've become ongoing TAC heroes. Jason, Marc & Jeff, you are truly TAC's saviors -- Your generous hearts have allowed the world to see who and what we are, where we're going and how we're going to get there. I can never thank you enough!
Third time's a charm, right? Norman Barrientos of Barrientos Design, along with architect, Doug Forton, brought TAC to life. The first time I saw the beginnings of their rendering, I damn near cried. How Norman and Doug got inside my heart and brought my soul to life, I have no idea. Magicians I tell you. Magicians. Their renderings wowed the crowd and made TAC...real! The renderings were, and are, not simply a picture, but they told the story of the need. Norman and Doug's work represent the universal design vision of TAC -- Once you see the renderings, you'll understand what sets TAC apart from EVERY other facility in America. Norman and Doug -- Thank you for digging deep and reaching into my soul.
We're not done yet -- Steve Roeder of Purple Onion hit a grand slam and brought the entire night together in 2 minutes. There's not much I can say -- THIS says it all. Steve, I can never thank you and the entire crew enough for telling the story...If you ever need ANYTHING, just call!
In short, March 22nd was our night to shine, our night to ensure Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Nation and the general public that The Ability Center is and will be very real...We're not going anywhere and we won't quit until those doors are open! After all, peolpe with disABILITIES and their families deserve the same opportunity to be fit, active and healthy...And in many cases to "play" for their first time. Every where you look their is a fitness facilty, health club, athletic facility, field, gym designed for the "able-bodied" public -- Do those with disaABILITIES not deserve the same?
Join our community of "100,000 Strong for Ability" and help bring TAC to life for the 100,000 people in Milwaukee County who are affected by disABILITY.
I'll see you at the Grand Opening.