- By Laurie Watanabe
- Mar 01, 2019
Numotion volunteers working hard at Morgan’s Wonderland, San Antonio.
I think it was misting as we boarded buses at the JW Marriott San Antonio at around 7 a.m., though it was still dark outside and hard to see. It was definitely drizzling when we arrived at Morgan’s Wonderland, the accessible theme park and site of Numotion’s 2019 community service project.
And by the time Numotion’s 750-strong team of techs, ATPs, funding specialists, compliance experts, corporate executives and board members broke into work groups and started painting fences and hauling 60,000 lbs. of rocks as big as my fist, the time for weather euphemisms had passed. It was raining. It was cold. There was mud, lots of it.
Numotion was loving it.
This flash mob of manual labor is a tradition at the Numotion National Leadership Conference, and Numotion CEO Mike Swinford has said many attendees describe the community service project as a highlight of their week. Some attendees even wished for more to do… because it’s not easy to find enough work to keep 750 volunteers busy for several hours.
Especially, I suspect, when those volunteers are from the complex rehab technology industry. (Folks from manufacturers/exhibitors were also among the volunteers.)
For several years now, I’ve watched, impressed and a little bemused, as Numotion attendees have planted trees, hauled trash, and built gardens. They’ve used gallons of Windex in their cleaning efforts, and definitely gallons of paint on fences, lunch benches and bridges. Make no mistake, this is not stuff-a-few-envelopes-and-smile-for-the-camera work. This year, the rain combined with the dirt to create a large group of muddy volunteers. Yet the only related comment I heard was a joking remark, in the elevators taking volunteers back to their hotel rooms afterward, that the JW Marriott was about to experience a serious drop in hot water pressure.
I’ve never seen cold, soaked, muddy people so happy.
But then again, that could be said of the CRT industry as a whole. In covering this industry for so many years, I’ve learned that this industry loves a challenge. I don’t mean that anyone wants wheelchair users’ conditions to worsen. But when that happens, or a client with a very rare or challenging situation arises, the CRT industry gears up. You gear up.
So while I’m still a bit incredulous that you roll up your sleeves with unabashed determination when a particularly tough case comes along, I’m no longer surprised. This is who you are: You are innovators. You are creative thinkers. You run toward problems, and you embrace and transform them.
That rain, that mud, those day-to-day situations in clinics… none of them stand a chance against you. That’s what makes you amazing, every day.
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.