Dnna Watten's Story Continued...
A year after Dana became gainfully employed, he dreamed of buying a van and learning to drive. He took lessons at Sister Kenny and got the down payment together for the van. Marie went with him to pick up the van. On his way home, as he drove around a curb, the device to secure him, having been improperly installed, came loose. He fell and lost control of the vehicle. The van was demolished, and Marie was injured. Six months later, after many hassles with the insurance company, the van was replaced, and he and Marie had a much better trip home.
In 1985, Dana met Rozanne. They made many trips together around the state. They also frequently went to Byerly's where Dana's mother Marie, who was over 80 years old, worked as a hostess.
Dana feels that he missed more than twenty years of weekends, so now he wants to enjoy every weekend. Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA), there are many more opportunities for access to lakes, recreational and vacation areas; and Dana and Rozanne try to take advantage of all of them.
I asked Dana what currently bothers him the most regarding independent living. He said the apathy he sees in so many of the people who live in the buildings he manages and the alcohol and (prescription) drug abuse. He feels very strongly that all the gains made for people with disabilities will be lost because the next generation seems to "accept" rather than challenge.
Family support, especially from his mother Marie, helped Dana survive. Now technology has put him on equal ground with people without disabilities. He has a home, job, friends, and is part of the community in which he lives, and oh yes, he pays taxes!
Dana Watten died December 17, 1996 at the age of 59.