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One Person's Battle Against the Post Office Prevails

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Friday, May 5, 2023   

A man in Adel who is part of Iowa's community of people with disabilities has been successful in having an electronic door installed at the U.S. Post Office in town.

Robert Fisher, who uses a motorized wheelchair to get around, has been able to get pretty much anywhere he wanted to go until he got to his local post office. Until now, the Adel post office has not had a wheelchair friendly door.

Fisher, who has been forced to call the post office ahead of his arrival so someone could let him in, has finally succeeded after a monthslong battle in having an electronic, accessible button installed.

"I feel happy," Fisher said. "It feels rewarding. And other people can use, that too."

Prior to the installation of the button, Fisher had to prop the door open with his hands and feet while maneuvering his wheelchair inside, which he said felt demeaning. Fisher, who said, "my work is never done," is hoping to expand his efforts to other places in Iowa which are not as accessible to people with disabilities as they should be.

Brooke Lovelace, executive director of the Iowa Council on Developmental Disabilities, calls Fisher's success a step in the right direction and a significant accomplishment at the local level, but added Adel's post office door should start not only a statewide trend to increase accessibility in Iowa, but also serve as an opportunity for officials to reexamine the current Americans with Disabilities Act.

"To make it more modernized with what the standards are today, to truly be accessible," Lovelace urged. "It is 30 years old, and so let's open the ADA back up and see how we can update it to make it, so it meets everybody's needs."

While the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, its roots actually date to the early 1970s, when the federal government started to define what discrimination meant in the context of being a disabled person.

Disclosure: The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities, Education, Health Issues, and Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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