Pete

My name is Pete and I was born in 1969 in Rochester, New York.

I have 3 older brothers (no sisters). Neither my parents nor my brothers show any signs of any disabling condition.

My disability is considered Bilateral Amputation which means both of my legs were removed surgically (in 1973). My hands only have 2 fingers and I use a brace on my left hand known as an Opposition Post. This allows me to grasp things and made writing possible. I also had Open Heart Surgery in 1979 to repair a Ventricular Septal Defect which isn’t uncommon in children. No evidence or reason has surfaced regarding the cause of my disability. Many people have suggested that my mother used Thalidomide and I will say very solidly here that the suggestion is false.

The amputation was done to allow me to use artificial limbs which I later gave up due to the hassle and annoyance they caused me personally.

I went to standard schools as a youngster and graduated proudly from high school in 1987. After high school I bolted out of New York and went to a small college in Greensboro, North Carolina. While I learned a great deal down there I also discovered my independent streak. Being alone with no family, I really did not pay a great deal of attention to my academic responsibilities and basically failed out of the school after one year. I had to get myself together. This was a time when I truly discovered myself.

I came home and cleaned myself up quickly and began working for a market research firm. I also picked up a night job as a receptionist at a YMCA and this was the norm for almost two years.

Then in 1990, my academic interest revived itself and I began taking classes at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). I quickly became comfortable there and settled into the Social Work program. While at RIT, I was invited onto a committee called the Commission for Promoting Pluralism which examined the needs of underrepresented groups on campus and what needs to be done to give equal opportunities for those who are students, staff or faculty. My term on this committee ended in June of 1998. I also served as a member of the Disabled Students Advisory Group as well as making myself available as a speaker on disability issues for RIT, other colleges and regional high schools.

After graduating in May of 1995 from RIT, I realized finding work in this field would be more difficult than I thought. I worked as an Adolescent Counselor for a brief while, and then worked as a Substance Abuse Intake evaluator briefly in a study role. Unfortunately those did not pan out. I worked at The Sutherland Group as a Tier I Internet Tech Support Agent for 3 years.  I currently work as a Tier II Internet Tech Support Agent for Frontier Telephone of Rochester, a Citizens Communications Company and I love my work!!!  I work on a telephone help desk helping both Citizens and Frontier Internet users gain and maintain their access to the Internet.

I am married to an amazing woman named Suzette who is truly my soul mate. My hobbies include bowling (I am Volunteer Coordinator of a disabled bowler’s league), billiards, swimming, movies, good food and a cold beer on occasion. I currently drive a 2002 Astro Safari mini-van which is, of course, my baby.
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