Patrick Sandy has advocated for persons with disabilities his entire life. As CEO of Easterseals Crossroads, he embarks every day on a mission to give persons with disabilities the same opportunities as everyone else. “There has been a real awakening that persons with disabilities have substantial contributions they can make to the community, just like everyone can,” he said. But Sandy knows it hasn’t always been this way.
Growing up, Sandy realized people with disabilities were discluded from his school and not allowed the same opportunities as others. This injustice ignited his passion for making change in the community. “I felt like there was a lot more that can be done,” he said.
The most eye-opening moment of Sandy’s life happened while working on a college project involving patients from the community ward at the state hospital. “Many were there because their family put them there at birth and had never seen them again. The sad truth is many would have done fine in the community,” he shared. This experience cemented his plans for his professional life: Helping those with disabilities reach their full potential.
Sandy pours his heart and soul into assisting the clients at Easterseals Crossroads. “We serve people with all disability types, whether that is physical, mental or psychiatric. We serve our clients from womb to tomb, and they serve people during their entire lifespan, which sets us apart from other providers,” he said.
“Patrick has worked in this field for nearly 40 years and has committed his life and career to serving individuals with disabilities. Through the years, he has always been one to stand up for those less fortunate and pave the way for full inclusion and independence for all individuals in the community,” said co-worker Bruce Schnaith in Sandy’s 100 Heroes nomination.
Gathering from his years of community service and advocacy, he has some advice for those looking for ways to get involved: “Find something you are passionate about and call the people who are doing it; you will be received with open arms! Don’t be scared to get involved, it will be the best thing you have ever done. You will feel so good about your contribution and it will be life changing.”