“Disability is not a ‘brave struggle’ or ‘courage in the face of adversity’ ...disability is an art, an ingenious way to live.” Neil Marcus, artist
Honoring People with Disabilities Wall
Gregory S. Greven
When looking back at Greg Greven’s life one might say he was always on the go. Whether he was checking to make sure things were accessible, taking pictures or videos or talking to someone he knew or wanted to know, advocacy was always at the forefront.
From the Springfield area, he graduated from Bolivar High School and at the age of 21 he acquired his spinal cord injury from a car wreck. In 1996 he graduated Southwest Baptist University.
As a person with a disability, Greg adapted his life and learned new ways to do things. If you knew Greg, you probably knew his service animal, Avery. She was Greg’s way of breaking down barriers and helping others see past his disability. Avery helped Greg both personally and in his advocacy efforts.
Greg was his own “mechanic” and liked to work on different projects to increase his independence. He didn’t let his wheelchair define who he was, but he used it as a platform to benefit individuals with all different types of disabilities.
His constant fight and never-failing attitude was a testiment to his colleages and friends.
Greg worked as a Disability Advocate at Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) where he worked with people with disabilities and assisted them in achieving their goals for independence. Stacie Amschler, SCIL Disability Advocate remembers that, “he always looked out for others.”
“As an advocate, Greg was a continual source of knowledge and inspiration for me,” shared self-advocate and SCIL volunteer William Stork. “One of my favorite memories of Greg is what he would ask each time I saw him in the community: ‘what do you have going on with your advocacy William, what’s the latest?’ It was that simple line that kept me growing and continuing to further my advocacy efforts.”
In 2008 Greg was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Disability and Linda Baker the Executive Director said, “he took his role as a council member very serious and always willing to participate. His strongest advocacy was in the area of universal design and service animals and he kept the council members informed of legislation dealing with these issues.”
In addition, Greg served as Chair/President of Polk County Community Connections, a commissioner for Springfield Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights, participated in the Springfield Mayor’s Commission on Global Perspective, was Executive Director of Choices, participated in the Mayor’s Transit Coalition for City of Bolivar focusing on public transportation and was a Board member for the Bolivar Workshop.
He volunteered much of his time and ministered to people living in institutions on Sundays.
Greg’s wheels may have helped him get around, but most agree it’s his spirit that will keep others moving forward in this community.
Greg passed away in 2011 at the age of 42 in a tragic automobile fire.
The Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) recognizes people of the Ozarks with disabilities for their past and present efforts to ensure that people with disabilities have the choice to live independently in the community. Nominations can be submitted anytime and will be considered in these categories: advocacy, community service, peer mentoring, positive role model, determination, and leadership in the community. A new honoree is announced in each bimonthly newsletter issue and a photo of the nominee will be displayed on the “Honoring People with Disabilities Wall” at the Springfield office.
Contact us for a nomination form or visit http://swcil.org/pages/view/honoring_people_with_disabilities.