Passion changes lives

Every now and then you come across someone that completely amazes you in every way and that’s exactly what happened to me recently.

Not long ago, one of our volunteers gave me the name of a gentleman in the area that I had never heard of, Dave Upton with Ambucs. The volunteer told me that he had found out through his wife that Mr. Upton had a grandchild with a disability and he had done a lot within the community to find new ways to offer services to children and adults with disabilities.

With just a little research, I was amazed to learn that Ambucs, which Mr. Upton revamped in 2007, was a company that offered mobility equipment to children and adults with disabilities. I quickly scheduled a meeting with him and tried to find out as much as possible about him and his organization.

Mr. Upton walked in with a huge smile on his face and had the most upbeat personality. From the moment we met, he made me feel like we had known each other forever.

We were both very excited to learn about each other’s organizations as well as finding out just how much we had in common. We discovered that we had much in common: we had served some of the same Shelby County children and families, the church I attend is a community partner with Ambucs, in his earlier years he developed the neighborhood that I grew up in and ironically, his office was less than a mile from mine.

Mr. Upton then told me about the lake he has in Alabaster where he offers children with disabilities the opportunity to go fishing. I couldn’t believe that in all my years in Shelby County, I had never heard about him or his lake. I immediately thought of several children and families that could benefit from having such a wonderful opportunity.

He was so passionate about his work, his family and God. He spent his life developing land, starting businesses and selling products and once his grandson was born, he gave all that up to find new ways to improve this child’s life and the life of so many other people that have disabilities.

Deep down inside we all have a passion about something, but how many of us use that passion to change the lives of others?

Kelli Keith is the director of marketing for Easter Seals of Birmingham. She can be reached at 314-2187.