“First of all, I have to thank the paramedics and paramedics who got me to the hospital on time. Just like the team in Austin a few years ago after my heart attack, these dedicated and talented first responders are why I work in a rehab facility me back from that stroke today. What would our nation be now without these frontline health workers who gave so much – and risked everything – to protect us all during the pandemic? They are remarkable. And you are my heroes Just like the doctors, nurses and rehab specialists who try three times as hard every day so that they can eventually throw me out of here and bring me back home. I am grateful to each and every one of them – even if the rehab hurts like hell!
For the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of chairing the National Organization for the Disabled. We always talk about how people with disabilities have historically been marginalized, but it’s the only diversity group that any of us can join at any time. I remember talking about it to President Bush, who used a wheelchair in the last few years of his life. He was as proud to have the ADA in place as I was proud to have cast a positive vote for it in Congress. Who of us is not in some way affected by disability?
I don’t yet know what, if any, long-term disability I will live with, but I know that as I recover, I will be inspired by people in my life. People like Luke Visconti, our great vice chairman at NOD and the successful head of Diversity Inc., who himself suffered a major stroke seven years ago. I have seen Luke develop over the years and am amazed at his strength, tenacity and fearlessness. He publicly shared his story, which I know has had a positive impact on many people. Like so many stroke patients, Luke lives a productive and meaningful life. I look forward to joining their ranks.
I want to thank Michele for her unwavering love and support along with my children and all of the family and a group of wonderful, supportive friends. I haven’t made it easy for them in recent years, that’s for sure. But they are my stone, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can be with my favorite grandson again, who is one of my main motivators in rehab.
After all, we in the Ridge family are all the beneficiaries of the love, prayers, and good wishes sent to us by friends, current and past colleagues, and even strangers from around the world, all of whom have greatly cheered our spirits. A warm Thank you from me and my family. We’re thankful. I wish you a happy 4th of July and look forward to seeing you again soon! “