Anne Davey Koomans Extols Her Polio-Stricken Husband’s Legacy on America Tonight
The author guested on “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” to share stories about her life and travels with her husband, Dave, as well as remind listeners that physical disability could never limit a person’s worth.
David Davey, fondly called Dave by family and friends, was stricken by polio at an early age (during the epidemic of the 1940s), yet that did not stop him from leading a happy family life, contributing positively to society, particularly the disabled, and even traveling the world with his loving, supportive wife, Anne Davey Koomans. Sometime after Dave’s death, Anne published a book about his life, titled Beyond Barriers.
Who is David Davey?
Beyond Barriers serves as a testament to a life well-lived with a purpose fulfilled. Dave never let his disability define him or determine his destiny. With the love and support of his family, friends, and colleagues, he rose beyond the barriers of a wheelchair. After attending a special school for handicapped children for some time, he completed his junior and senior years at a regular high school. He was a member of the Honor Society and elected president of his senior class. After graduation, he went to Wayne State University (WSU) to study Accounting but later switched his major to Business Administration.
His most valuable contribution to society was his work with Senator Bob Dole on the National Barrier-Free Architectural and Transportation Board. Dave served as a liaison for the Goodwill Industries regarding the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Such a person is worth immortalizing. Anne told host Kate Delaney about her decision to share Dave’s story with the world, “My husband David Davey had done so much that we decided we really have to put it down because it was a kind of legacy for our children and grandchildren, so we wrote it for them. When people heard it that we had (written a book), they said, ‘Hey, we wanna buy it,’ and we said the book is not out yet until they asked us to do it. That’s what happened.”
Dave, who was inducted in the Goodwill Hall of Fame, worked hard for the Americans with Disabilities Act to get through Congress. Inspired by his conversation with a roommate who also had polio, Dave found his lifelong purpose: to help disabled people gain access to opportunities. Dave felt it that he and his roommate were called by God to make a difference for people like them.
Anne also enthusiastically talked about her travels with Dave, who loved to sail. Together, they had visited 49 states (excluding North Dakota) and above 50 countries, plus “a lot of islands.” Before they were to wed, Dave told her that he would like to visit Hawaii, Alaska, and the Panama Canal.
The couple spent 13 weeks in Alaska, which, according to Anne, was “probably the first state to ever become totally barrier-free.”She described their stay in Alaska as wonderful and spectacular. They took a helicopter ride and went on cruises, among other activities.
The most important part of their travels was meeting people who had different handicaps. Dave never lost the opportunity to encourage and empower them.
Aside from helping others and working with Goodwill and Congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, Dave, together with Anne, also joined hands in fellowship with other Christians. Even after retiring, Dave continued to help spearhead vocational and rehabilitation programs in the community, collaborating with civic-minded individuals and organizations.
“Every time we turned around, there was an opportunity. Dave did an awful lot of talking and speaking. He was on different committees. Probably he is the only Goodwill executive to serve two terms with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. He was vice-chairman in one of his terms. He helped rewrite their by-laws.”
Anne hopes that her book beyond Barriers will inspire readers about the life and works of her husband who, despite his disability, enjoyed his life and made a difference in the world.
“Life is good. Whatever happens to you, there is another answer.”
Purchase Anne Davey Koomans’ Beyond Barriersin either print or digital format on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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