For serving as an example of the success one can achieve by overcoming disability, UH staff member Karl Hearne was named recipient of the 2011 Houston Mayor’s Citizen’s Accessibility Recourses for Empowerment Award.
Hearne collected the accolade at the third annual National Disability Awareness Month on Friday at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center Gymnasium.
Hearne, who serves as Assistant to the Vice President for Community Relations and Institutional Access, was given the award for his “unyielding commitment to overcome his physical challenges and for sharing his talents and abilities with his community.”
“There’s no such thing as a bad day,” Hearne said. “My life is a living testimony of what can be done when others say it cannot.”
Hearne was born two months premature to his mother and father that were faced with a decision that would effect his life forever.
“Doctors told my parents to put me in a home, but my mother said no,” Hearne said. “From then on I was determined to face every obstacle presented to me.”
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that groups different motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, particularly in body movement. The United Cerebral Palsy Foundation estimates that nearly 800,000 people in the US are living with one or more of the symptoms of cerebral palsy.
“I made several promises to God when I came to the University of Houston,” Hearne said. “I told Him if He would allow me to get an education, I would help others.
“When life seems impossible to keep going, I look around and always find somebody worse off than me.”
Hearne has earned an undergraduate degree in consumer science and a master’s degree in human resource development at UH.
Proud to be a Cougar
Hearne said he hopes everyone at the University would show some improvement in school spirit, and that he feels a responsibility to improve UH.
“School spirit starts with each of us having pride to be here,” Hearne said.
“I still have my acceptance letter, dated Valentines Day 2001. Red and white is in my heart, and I’ll do all I can to make the University better.”