Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Schools

March 25, 2010

Motivation, inspiration

Ron Bachman, who was born with a birth defect that forced amputation of his legs, speaks of tolerance at Boyd Middle

SUMMIT — Ron Bachman of Detroit came to Boyd County Middle School Wednesday morning to provide a lesson about tolerance and bullying, and drove away with a renewed sense of inspiration provided by hundreds of children who stood to applaud his message.

Following a video introduction of Bachman that included Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler, Bachman rolled his motorized scooter onto the BCMS gym floor to screams and applause generally reserved for a rock star.

Remaining in constant motion between the far ends of his 725-student audience, Bachman explained he had a birth defect which forced amputation of both legs when he was 4 years old. In early life, Bachman said he was often the target of bullies, and still finds himself as the focus for people who tend to look at him as some sort of human oddity.

“You will survive it. Believe me when I say, I know,” he said to the students who are now dealing with bullying behavior.

To those who act as bullies, Bachman asked a simple question — “How dare you?”

“Do you think this world is just for you?” he asked, adding an image of a bully and buddies “dogging and picking on people.”

Bachman, 52, told the Boyd County students he attended a school for handicapped children, noting education officials and parents at that time felt it was best to keep disabled children separated from “normal” kids.

“Today, we know the faster we meet, the faster we become friends,” he said.

Bachman also recalled being fitted with artificial legs, even though there was no chance of him using the prosthetic devices to walk.

“The artificial legs weighed 60 pounds,” he said, explaining the fake legs actually caused him to fall more often. “I hated those artificial legs, guys. They weren’t me. I was told to wear them not for me, but for you.”

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