By Nancy Miller
ADEC Staff

Today I am inspired by Steve Germani who ran 26.2 miles in the 2013 Chicago Marathon October 13 to raise awareness about the importance of hiring adults with disabilities. Steve finished the run in 5 hours, 34 minutes and 17 seconds. He finished the run despite a painful runner’s injury that flared up about mile 17. He finished the run despite a daunting hill in the last 400 meters. (Really? A hill at the end of a marathon? ) He finished the run despite the death of his father just 11 days earlier.

He downplayed the obstacles he experienced, pointing out that the individuals ADEC serves face obstacles every day. They can’t quit, so why would he?

Steve began training in March. We announced his “26 Miles for 26 Jobs” campaign as part of ADEC’s observance of Disabilities Awareness Month. The 26 miles campaign ended, fittingly, in October, which is Disabilities Employment Awareness Month. In that six-month span, 27 new jobs opened up for clients served by ADEC’s Employment Services division; 27 men and women who didn’t have jobs are now working, and several more are close to being placed in jobs.

The steps Steve took, especially the excruciating ones, led the way.

His marathon run achieved something else, too. He showed the rest of us the difference one person can make, the impact each one of us could have if we went after a goal as unflinchingly as he did.

Steve threw down a gauntlet of sorts. And now the rest of us should be asking:

What’s my marathon?

What’s yours?

Steve Germani nears Mile 23 in the 2013 Chicago Marathon.

Steve Germani nears Mile 23 in the 2013 Chicago Marathon.