"Do-Gooder" Lawmaker Didn't Ask Permission To Use Man's Name
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 4, 2002
FORT COLLINS, COLORADO--A few years ago, U.S. Representative Bob Schaffer had a moment of inspiration.
While in a Congressional session set up to name post offices, Schaffer wondered why postal facilities are not named for ordinary people who face life's "extraordinary challenges".
A former member of a county mental health advisory board, Schaffer immediately thought of Barney Apodaca, a man with mental retardation who is a well-connected figure known by most people in his community.
So, probably with warm intentions, Schaffer pushed to have a local post office named for Apodaca. On November 6, President George Bush signed legislation making Apodaca the first person with a developmental disability to have a U.S. post office named in his honor.
The problem is, nobody asked Mr. Apodaca.
"I don't want my name to represent the Post Office or to have anything to do with it," Apodaca said recently in a letter to Congressman Schaffer. "I feel like you are making fun of me and completely disrespecting my feelings."
"No one asked me if I wanted this and if they did I would have said, 'No!'"