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The Trip of a Lifetime

posted by Guest Author on Thursday, January 27, 2022

We were recently gifted with a story sent to us from Thomas "Tom" Wemlinger, EPI direct support professional since 2006. The name of the person Tom supports has been changed to adhere to the HIPAA guidelines. Thank you for sharing this story with us, Tom!

What began as a sketched out idea in early 2020, became the fulfillment of a dream for someone I support. Clint has been a member of CORSA for as long as I’ve known him. CORSA is an acronym for the "CORvair Society of America,” a group that is dedicated to preserving the legacy of these classic American cars. Clint has been a fan of these cars for decades, even owning one himself for several years, and he had the CORSA hat to prove it.

The CORSA hat was showing its age a bit, so I ordered a new one for him this last Christmas. When it arrived, I opened the box and found a pamphlet for the Corvair Museum in Glenarm, IL. I thought it might be nice to take Clint there for a visit some time, but at the time, didn't put much more thought into it. As someone who is nearly blind and severely hearing-impaired, I wasn't sure how much he would enjoy it. But when an opportunity presented itself, I decided to give it a go. One day in October, I wrote a note to Clint to inform him that he would be going with his peer and me to visit the Corvair Museum in November. He managed to read the note, then emphatically signed “OK!”

We arranged for hotel accommodations in Springfield for two nights and made an appointment with the museum curator, Mike, for our visit. When we arrived, Mike greeted us and immediately made us feel at home. Clint toured the exhibits, feeling the door frames on the various cars and asking Mike about the model years and engine sizes. It was inspiring to watch Clint and Mike as they carried on a conversation in spite of Clint’s communication difficulties. It was plain that Clint was in his element, sharing his love and knowledge of the Corvair with a fellow aficionado.

Following the museum tour we visited another Route 66 landmark, the Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield. Their claim to fame is that they were the first to serve corn dogs on a stick, way back in ’56. True or not, there’s no denying that they cook up a mean corn dog! After lunch, Clint and his peer were able to pick up some souvenirs at the Cozy Dog gift shop. Clint’s peer found some cool postcards, and Clint picked up another chapeau to display alongside his CORSA cap.

Since returning from the trip, Clint has made a point of sharing his experience with his doctors, his interpreter, his peers, his transportation providers, and just about everyone else he meets. He particularly enjoys showing off the Route 66 cap, which has become his favorite. I feel privileged to have been a part of turning Clint’s dream into the trip of a lifetime!

About The Author

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