Letter Writing Campaign
Denny has always been a community activist and environmentalist. As a person who made his living by photographing nature, exploring nature and helping others discover nature, he is keenly protective of wild places and human propelled methods (bikes, hiking, kayaking, etc) of discovery.
One of his major goals in the past was to document bike paths and rate how pedestrian friendly a community was as we traveled through them. Then he would use the good ones as ammunition when we returned home and he resumed his activism with the city council or legislators. After we were hit from behind by an SUV while riding our bike one day, I suffered a pretty significant head injury. My helmet saved my life that day! Then a few months later a friend of ours was killed while cycling by a teenager driving a truck. Denny went into high gear fighting for cyclists rights. THEN he had the stroke and his fights took a back seat.
Not any longer! A few weeks ago a story ran in the local paper about a woman who is frustrated with our traffic and efforts by the city to control speed by installing round abouts at intersections. She set up a website to lobby for wider roads, faster speed limits, less lights and overall encourage the use of cars / suv's are the primary mode of transportation rather than light rail, buses or carpool lanes. After all, we live in Scottsdale where the car is GOD and nobody shares a ride here. Denny couldn't believe she was getting so much press. He was incensed at her efforts to increase traffic and speed it up rather than decrease traffic and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Then he read in the paper about a young girl who was killed while walking by a hit and run. The driver only received three years in jail. That did it, something clicked for Denny and he has been hard at work on his computer.
Denny has begun a letter writing campaign to the newspaper and to the city council. Mind you, with his aphasia, his letters are far from what they are used to receiving from him He has punctuated them with photos and set up a webpage showing images of traffic accidents, examples of good and bad bike paths side by side and short messages. I am so proud of him. He doesn't care that his letters aren't grammatically correct or even spelled right. He is fighting for his cause with a passion. Here is an example of one of his emails to the mayor:
"scottsdale bad bike
thanks 96th street"
Then he added the like to the webpage he has set up. Translated this means - "Scottsdale is bad for people riding bikes. Thank you for installing the bike lanes and round about on 96th Street."
He has done a similar thing with his anti-war campaign - complete with music.
Lesson to learn here? Many people (not the people on this list) wrongly assume because a person has speech aphasia they cannot process complex thoughts. This is simply not true. While they may process things differently or more slowly, it doesn't mean they process thoughts with any less passion than the rest of us. I am so proud of Denny and his passion to change the world.