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Gardner recognized for work with Madison City Disability Advocacy Board

Madison City Council recognized Claudia Rice and Don Gardner for their service to Madison City Disability Advocacy Board (MCDAB). During his tenure, Gardner served as accessibility committee chairman and treasurer. (CONTRIBUTED)
Madison City Council recognized Claudia Rice and Don Gardner for their service to Madison City Disability Advocacy Board (MCDAB). During his tenure, Gardner served as accessibility committee chairman and treasurer. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – A productive member for four years, Don Gardner has retired from Madison City Disability Advocacy Board (MCDAB).

Gardner served as accessibility committee chairman and treasurer. He saw “a need to address accessibility issues for people with disabilities in the City of Madison. The general public often doesn’t understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities.”

Gardner wanted to use his personal experience as a person with a disability to influence change. “I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a congenital bone disorder, which results in brittle bones and high risk of fractures,” Gardner said. In 2002, he sustained a stress fracture of the right hip and, 13 months later, to the left hip. He then purchased a home in “an accessibility condominium community in Madison.”

“MCDAB works to advocate for people with disabilities to ensure their needs are not overlooked in city services,” Gardner said. “MCDAB has a pipeline to city leaders that will allow the board to promote change.”

Gardner has realized that Madison is one of few Alabama cities with an entity like MCDAB. “That puts Madison a step ahead other municipalities in helping to improve quality of life for people with disabilities,” he said.

Among his accomplishments, he helped with accessibility improvements at Madison Public Library, including addition of handicapped-accessible power-door openers and restroom improvements. MCDAB worked with then mayor Paul Finley for funding.

Additionally, Gardner appeared in and assisted with “Think Before You Park,” a video produced by James Clemens High School students and MCDAB. “The video demonstrates problems experienced by people with disabilities (because) of fraudulent use of handicapped-accessible parking,” Gardner said. “It educates viewers (about) access aisles and curb cuts.”

Alabama State Department of Education has included the video in driver’s education curriculum (youtube.com/watch?v=N45nIhDVP0M).

Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree at Auburn University. He moved to Madison in 2003, after living in Huntsville since 1981. He works as an industrial engineer specializing in earned value management for the U.S. Army at Redstone Arsenal.

Gardner is a member of Mayfair Church of Christ.

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