Spring Gathering – A Celebration of Service
Friday, May 18th
Kensington Court Ann Arbor
610 Hilton Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
7:30 – 8:00 am Mix & Mingle/Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00 am Program
To RSVP: www.annarborcil.org/springgathering
Questions, Sponsorship Opportunities, Volunteers: e-mail Stephanie@aacil.org
Over 300 guests are slated to attend the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living’s second annual Spring Gathering event at Kensington Court in Ann Arbor. This year, the Center will be focusing on a celebration of service, recognizing Veterans with disabilities. Several dignitaries will be speaking on the importance and scope of services that the Center provides each year to thousands of children, youth, adults, seniors, and Vets with disabilities including: Senator Rebekah Warren, State Representative Mark Ouimet, Jeff Irwin, and Rick Olson.
This year, two powerful testimonies will be given by individuals whose lives were transformed by the Ann Arbor CIL: Maurice Jordan and Ben Case.
Ben Case is a John Weir Scholarship winner from the CIL that is attending the University of Michigan with a pre-medical emphasis. He has been a wonderful advocate for the Center. “I’m proud to have my disability; it has shaped me into who I am,” Case said. “I wouldn’t be the same without it.” Case said advocacy has played an important role in his life and in getting to where he is today. “[As a young kid], I started asking for the accommodations I needed [in school], making sure I got them, and getting notes from lectures. This made a difference that showed in my academic success.” Ben is originally from Cleveland, Ohio where he was diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss and was fitted with hearing aids. He has spent most of his life in Ann Arbor and after completing K-12 in the Ann Arbor Public Schools he continues his studies at the University of Michigan. Through the support of his parents and mentors in his life Ben has become a strong self-advocate. His experiences of studying abroad, involvement with the deaf and development of his professional career has strengthened his advocacy skills for himself and the deaf. Ben first participated with the AACIL in his pursuit of financial support for college and from there he became more involved. Since receiving the John Weir Scholarship Ben’s time with the AACIL has grown to include their advocacy program, VISTA program and serving on the John Weir Scholarship committee. His interaction with the AACIL has expanded his advocacy for the disabilities community as he continues to support the center.
Maurice Jordan is a United State Army veteran who served this country in Fort Hood, TX, in the Second Armored Division and later in the 24th Supply and Support Company in Giessen, Germany. There he served as a logistician under the Army’s Quartermaster branch. Before ending his military service, as a staff sergeant, he received several service medals including the Army Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Commendation Medal and the National Defense Service Medal for his service during The Persian Gulf War.
Soon after concluding his military service, he quickly transitioned his training in logistics management into the civilian world where he began working as a materials management supervisor at the University of Michigan Medical Center and later at Ford Motor Company. An automobile accident abruptly interrupted his new civilian career, after he sustained a spinal cord injury.
Maurice’s life was suddenly taken into a new direction. The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living was his first contact with the disability community. He embraced their mission, advocacy and outreach services. He began serving on the board in a number of positions and concluded as the board chair.
Following his passion to serve, he later joined the Michigan Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA). There he served on the board before eventually becoming the organization’s Executive Director. Developing many strong strategic alliances with like-minded organizations, he worked to expand MPVA’s brand while spreading the organization’s mission of improving the lives of people with disabilities veterans and non-veterans alike. Maurice’s efforts were recognized and he was recruited to join the national organization in Washington, D.C. and help lead the organization to new heights as the Deputy Executive Director of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA); the nation’s only congressionally chartered veteran service organization specializing in serving the needs of veterans with spinal cord injury.
In his capacity as Deputy Executive Director Maurice continued to be a vocal advocate for the disability and veteran communities. Maurice regularly met with White House staff and Congressional leaders addressing the concerns of veterans with disabilities. He has delivered keynote addresses for veteran and disability events across the country. He has addressed such venues as the National Veteran Wheelchair Games and served as the keynote speaker at the University of the Virgin Islands’ annual, “Voices That Count” Conference held on the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas. He has spoken at several openings of new spinal cord injury medical centers and vocational rehabilitation centers, which specialize in job placement for veterans with spinal cord injuries.
While in Washington D.C., Maurice was also instrumental in forming a new non-profit organization called, The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (ASCIP), he served as the organization’s first Executive Director. This organization was the first to bring together interdisciplinary health care professionals from both the private sector and the VA health care systems. This help to create a learning environment that fostered a comprehensive and cooperative sharing of information in the field of spinal cord medicine and care management.
Maurice has long realized the importance of community involvement and service as proven by his military service for this great nation and his continued service as a staunch advocate for his fellow disabled citizens and veterans.
Maurice and his wife Toni have five kids between them ranging in age from 14 to 26. Maurice now resides back here in Michigan where he enjoys volunteering, spending time with his family and speaking about the issues facing our disabled veterans present and future.