MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 6 Ronald Kusiak, a family farmer fromMosinee, Wis., is the recipient of the 2008 Judd Jacobson Memorial Award.Established in 1992, the Jacobson Award, administered by Courage Center,recognizes the pursuit or achievement in a business entrepreneurial endeavorby a person with a physical disability or sensory impairment.
Kusiak, 48, is a paraplegic as the result of a fall from a tree standwhile bear hunting in September 2007. The eldest son in a family of six,Kusiak took over complete operation of his family's dairy farm when he wasjust 16. For more than 30 years, he built an impressive dairy herd and, aswith most family farmers, rarely took a day off, until his injury.
Kusiak was nominated for the award by his daughter Megan, who describesher father as a man full of 'life, love and compassion.' "His life has takena drastic change," said Megan. "He has been taken from the life he wasaccustomed to for 47 years, to a completely different world. For most people,especially for a farmer, this would be the worst thing possible. But, my dadis not like most people. In our hearts we know, and he knows, that he can doit. He can farm and continue the life he's always known. He just needs a dothings a bit differently. "
"I am so honored to receive the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award," saidKusiak. "There are so many things that I would like to change on my farm tomake it more accessible to me -- like lowering light switches; purchasing apower lift to get into my farming equipment; buying power carts to help mespread cattle feed myself; add hand controls to a tractor so I can drive it;widen entry ways in my barn for my wheelchair to fit through... the list goeson and on. I've set a lot of goals set for myself, and this award is a hugejumpstart to help me reach them."
"The Jacobson selection committee was inspired by Ron's story. Each year,we look for someone who exemplifies the 'spirit' of my late husband, Judd, andfor us, this year, that person was Ron Kusiak," said Barbara Jacobson.
Kusiak will receive his award on Tuesday, Nov. 11, during a reception from5:30-7:30 p.m., at Courage Center Golden Valley.
About the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award
The Judd Jacobson Memorial Award is named for the late Minnesota businessleader who became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident. The $5,000cash award is administered by Courage Center, with funds made possible byDaniel J. Gainey, a lifelong friend of Jacobson.
About Courage Center
Courage Center is a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center thatadvances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health andindependence. At Courage Center, we specialize in treating brain injury,spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism, and disabilities experiencedsince birth. Founded in 1928, Minneapolis-based Courage Center offersadvanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts ofthousands of volunteers and donors. For more information visitCourageCenter.org.
Contact: Sue Warner, Communications ManagerCourage Center, 763-520-0263
SOURCE Courage Center