Sometimes our lives throw us a curve, and when they do, it can destroy everything we’ve built, our families, and cause utter chaos in our world. Yet we must persevere, and when we do, we will indeed demonstrate our American “can do” attitude in overcoming our demons, tragedies and challenges. Americana is filled with interesting people, people who help shape our times and those who go beyond the norm, those who truly capture our hearts. Let me tell you an inspiring story from Gary Kuhre, a father, a husband and a man on a mission to raise awareness.
Gary Kuhre discovered that the family’s health insurance did not cover autism and the family discovered the financial burden of having an autistic child. Instead of stopping in defeat and out of love for his son, he dug deep and his strength of character emerged. He decided to do something about it, yes, a father on a mission who was willing to do whatever it took to help his son, even give up his own life if necessary, if he knew his son was a normal could live.
It was through this father’s devotion that he was prepared to pass the ultimate test of devotion. One, which he was pretty sure would make autism aware, was indeed a “test of will” unlike any other ever dreamed of. It would run across America from Reno to Washington DC and as you know Reno is further west than Los Angeles because of the shape of the United States and the curvature of the Earth.
His perseverance and commitment to the cause of autism paid off. Not only did his walk strengthen the autism community, but it made headlines and prompted two standing US senators to contact him; Senator Harry Reid from his home state of Nevada and Senator John McCain from Arizona, who is now a presidential candidate. Nevada’s governor also got involved and opened a serious dialogue. Perhaps it was Gary’s upbringing or will to persevere and never give up that pushed him to embark on such a journey, he refused to give up on his son and has now become one of the strongest advocates for reform of the health insurance for autism.
In a modified, custom-built wagon, he set off step-by-step toward Washington DC, an estimated distance of about 5 million human strides, and although unforeseen circumstances ultimately prevented him from completing the entire journey on the first lap, he dreams of being able to complete every step. In his quest, step by step, he became even more devoted than the last, the strength of love for his son and family and the refusal to accept anything less, a dedicated father on a mission. The results of his quest and bold statement have led to never-ending forward progress for autism awareness.