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NYSID News Blog

June 26, 2017

Journey Along the Erie Canal Gives Meaning to Miles Across NYS

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:18 pm

For the fifth consecutive year, John Robinson and Doug Hamlin led Journey Along the Erie Canal, a 370-mile, 12-day bicycle ride across upstate New York via the scenic and historic Erie Canalway Trail. NYSID was once again the proud video sponsor.

Pictured l-r: Tom Occhiogrosso, NYSID, and John Robinson, Our Ability, pose during a sendoff event at Liberty ARC on Day 11 of Journey Along the Erie Canal

Journey Along the Erie Canal began June 26 in Buffalo’s Canal Side Park and concluded July 7 at Jennings Landing in Albany. As the tour made its way across New York, numerous NYSID member agencies and other supporters of inclusive communities for the people NYSID serves joined John and Doug for parts of the trip, as the two men rode using specialized hand cycles.

John and Doug are partners in Glenmont-based Our Ability, a network of consulting, public speaking, recruitment and professional services that champions the inclusivity of people with disabilities in the workplace.

“NYSID was proud to support John, Doug and their fellow riders on their fifth annual Journey ride,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “Over the years, this dedicated team has met up with NYSID member agencies from Buffalo to Albany, cycling together and celebrating inclusive opportunities for all New Yorkers. NYSID was privileged to join with the NYS Canal Corporation, NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and other sponsors of this motivating example of giving meaning to miles.”

Finger Lakes TimesSpectrum News, The Daily GazetteThe Recorder and WNYT NewsChannel 13 were among the media outlets that covered the Journey.

Born as a congenital amputee without full arms and legs, John overcame countless obstacles to become a successful businessman, husband, father and inspirational speaker. In 2011 he founded Our Ability with Doug, a 28-year veteran of the software industry who is also disabled as the result of an accident in 1983.

“Each year our Journey aims to raise awareness of the ability inside all people with disabilities,” John said. “Five years ago, our dream was to increase employment for people with disabilities in New York State. In part, our Journey has achieved this goal. We have businesses who work with us and employ people with disabilities. It is a dream come true.”

NYSID staff participated in the final two legs of Journey Along the Erie Canal: Day 11 (July 6) in Amsterdam featuring Liberty ARC, where we cheered the departing riders; and Day 12 (July 7) to welcome the riders upon their arrival in Albany’s Jennings Landing park.

NYSID member agencies Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled; Heritage CentersHuman TechnologiesLexington – Fulton County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc.Saratoga BridgesSchenectady ArcThe Arc of Genesee Orleans; Warren, Washington & Albany Counties Chapter of NYSARC, Inc.; and Wayne ARC also participated in the Journey.

This year’s ride highlighted the growth of the 30 business-member New York Business Leadership Network (NYBLN), a coalition among businesses in New York State interested in both hiring and building supplier diversity of businesses owned by individuals with disabilities.

Our Ability also rode in support of Governor Cuomo’s recently proposed project to complete the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails, making the waterway accessible to all.

Congratulations to John, Doug, their entourage and all NYSID member agencies and staff who participated in Journey Along the Erie Canal!


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