Letter to the Editor
My ADA Let’s Get Practical week Oct. 8-13
This letter comes so late, yet I had to send it. When I wrote about the wonderful Clay County Fair Disability Day last September I didn’t realize that once again I would witness how magnificent the city of Spencer, Iowa, is with their warmth, kindness, caring, compassion, open arms of acceptance and fun-loving spirit.
I started on Monday morning and ended on Friday morning before returning to Kansas City, Missouri, with a stop at Sisters Mainstreet Cafe. What an experience! If only everyone could start their morning having breakfast with friends. Such a practice is the best medicine possible. Deb and Jerry Marlow could hang out a sign that states, 100 percent guaranteed healthy environment within! Thank you Deb and Jerry Marlow for all you are and do for your community.
The week was filled with activities that included
business visits at Fareway, Sisters Mainstreet, Spencer Public Library with the wonderful story of Dewey, City Hall, The Clay County Fairgrounds, YMCA, Farmer’s Bank, Heritage Museum and a city sidewalk walkabout that were uplifting and rewarding. Everyone was so receptive with a serious commitment to being accessible for both its citizens and visitors.
I really appreciated being able to present to the Kiwanis Club on Monday and the assistance of the Rotary Club for the Tuesday evening business presentation.
Not to be forgotten are the agency providers for Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation, Iowa Workforce Development, and the Winther Stave & Co for explaining how tax credits exist for businesses hiring people with disABILITIES.
Now for my special joy which is visiting the fourth-grade students from Lincoln Elementary, Sacred Heart School and Iowa Great Lakes Lutheran School. The teachers and principals deserve kudos for the great work they are doing with these young children who are our future. The students questions, excitement, and apt attention at my service dog Sufra and my presentation were priceless!
Along with the schools was the fulfilling presentation and visit with some students during their lunch periods at the high school. The students were model listeners and delightful visitors during the lunch conversations. Wow, Spencer can be so proud of the school, principal, teachers and rest of the support staff. Most important is that Spencer can be so proud of these young adults who are so close to presenting themselves into the unprotected adult world.
Special thanks must go to Randy Cauthron of the Daily Reporter for all the articles, with Joe Hopper the reporter for his interview and Karyn Leninger with SMU videos. They are great! Karyn spent the whole time following us with excellent results. They can be viewed at
Finally, the ADA Council spoiled me beyond imagination. They were with me throughout from Sunday evening until I left Friday morning. Their kindness, generosity, and anticipation for addressing my every possible need made me feel like “Queen for a Week.” Tom Rutt, Stevie Shively, Ann Vandehaar, Marti Bomgaars, Janee Boever and Eric Erickson proved that “kindness, caring and compassion wrapped with love is never out of style.”
I know this is a long letter, but you can blame your fantastic city of Spencer, Iowa, for that. They are so extraordinary that I had to include all of them. If I missed anyone, please know it is due to my limitations.
— Michele S. Ohmes, with my super service dog Sufra, Kansas City, Mo.