The following is a personal story written by a client of NCDHHS' Vocational Rehabilitation (NCDVRS) Program, David Camfield, outlining how the program helped him achieve success after an automobile accident.
On August 16, 2020, I died. Did that catch your attention? It sure caught mine. After my catastrophic automobile accident, the paramedics were able to shock my heart back to a normal rhythm. I’m forever grateful.
I was active and fit before my accident – I’d been a long-distance runner. After my accident, it took more than a year of inpatient physical rehabilitation for me to learn to walk again and function well enough to live independently. After rehab, I left Michigan and moved to Asheville, NC. I moved because of the weather, mountains, and proximity to family.
While I was in rehabilitation, I wasn’t sure what I’d do to support myself, though I had a thread of an idea. Thanks to a wonderful counselor at QLI in Omaha, where I did my rehabilitation, I was introduced to Keri Walker with the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
I was partnered with Dag Bergrund with Business Engagement and was equipped with the adaptive technology necessary for me to work as a writer. I’d always written, and now, through the use of speech-to-text software, I’m able to put my thoughts to paper again. I was also lined up with an opportunity that seemed tailored to who I am as a professional, having spent years in the IT field. My new opportunity came through the Employment First program – it was a was a business communication internship with the NCDHHS' Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Serendipity? I think so! I immediately applied for and was selected for the position. Here I am writing this to you to tell my story about working with the professionals who make NCDVRS such a blessing and, as I’ve come to believe, a necessity for creating an integrated and inclusive business community in the state.
Let’s start with my situation: I’m hemiplegic as a result of my accident. That means I’m paralyzed on the right side of my body — no function of my right arm and partial paralysis of my right leg. I’m grateful I’m able to walk at all!
NCDVRS has made a huge difference with the adaptive technology that enables me to be as productive as I was when able-bodied. I’ve been able to contribute, giving back to the community that has given so much to me.
Dag has been instrumental in aligning my skill set with opportunities within the department. I have learned so much from my experience with the NCDVRS. The people are wonderful. They truly care about me and their other clients and work diligently to help us succeed in contributing to the overall workforce of the state and country. It’s a big job – the Asheville VR office is currently serving more than 1,700 people with disabilities in the western region of North Carolina.
Once I was selected for the internship, paperwork, lab work, and fingerprints needed to be completed. Dag took the time to drive me around to complete all that work. He didn’t have to do that; I could have driven myself around, but it was helpful because I don’t know the area very well yet. I’ve felt nothing but welcoming energy since I arrived in North Carolina.
I look forward to continuing to make it my new home.
NCDHHS’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) helps people with disabilities achieve their goals for employment and independence. If you have a disability that prevents you from achieving career success or independence in the community of your choice, DVRS can connect you to services and resources to help you meet your goals. Go to the DVRS website to learn more.