Tag Archives: This is How I Roll

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This is How I Roll | The Call to Crusade

By Grant Logsdon

When I was nine years old, I wanted to volunteer to give back to my community.  I discussed with family where I could give back and we decided on The Crusade for Children. For those who don’t know, The Crusade for Children is a local charity developed in 1954 by WHAS TV. They join with various local fire departments and raise money on the weekends to donate to local agencies, schools and hospitals to benefit children with special needs. Firemen and other volunteers set up on road blocks in different parts of Kentuckiana and collect money in big buckets and boots.

At first, my mother had a very difficult time trying to find a fire department that would let me help. Most departments said they would allow me to come check out the fire trucks and talk to the guys. It became very evident that people didn’t understand my disability and were fearful about my safety.  However, I wanted to be more involved. We had a very difficult time trying to find a department that would actually put me to work on the road blocks.

After many tearful calls from my mom to various fire departments, she finally got in touch with Captain Larry Dewald with the Okolona Fire Department. He openly said he didn’t know much about physical disabilities like I had, but was willing to give me a try.  My mom explained that I wanted to work, and I would always have a support person to assist whenever needed. He gave me the opportunity to build many long-term relationships with a lot of new people.  The firemen took me under their wings, they allowed me to grow as a person and they guided me until I was where I wanted to be, just one of them raising money for kids.  I’ve worked with Okolona every year, except one, since I was nine years old.

From this experience, I learned that even when everyone says no, keep going if it’s in your heart to do something. If you are persistent you are bound to run into someone who is willing to say yes, or at least willing to try like Captain Dewald.   Without this opportunity, I would have missed out on many different conversations with individuals I probably would have never met. I also learned from the motorists coming by the roadblocks how nice and generous people are.  Some would drive by with no money, but offer us water and cokes instead. Even my elders would drive by and offer me their umbrella if it was hot outside. I can’t tell you how many times people have given me things for the department, it was amazing to see such generosity.

The experience guided me to be a more positive individual willing to try anything. The most rewarding thing to me was taking the money that we collected down to the TV station and turning it in, because to me it’s bigger than The Crusade.  Yes, we were out there collecting money, but when you give back to your community you learn a lot about yourself and how you’re supposed to treat others. You can learn a lot of valuable lessons in life if you’re out there giving it your best shot.

Until next time, this is how I roll.

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Exit | April/May 2017

GRANT LOGSDON has been rolling through life’s challenges since the day he was born, and we are proud to have him join the Extol Team.

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Grant is wickedly funny, amazingly creative and has an IQ that would put most of us to shame. That’s why we asked him to pen a column, called This Is How I Roll. “I chose This Is How I Roll because I roll through life in a wheelchair, but I don’t focus on the chair,” Grant said. “My wheels are my wheels to freedom — I am not confined. I’m focused on my gifts and talents, and living my life each and every day.”

You can read Grant’s column and find out more about our newest member of the team at www.ExtolMag.com.

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This is How I Roll | Bumpy Roads Ahead: Enter Creatively

I am a strong advocate for accessibility. I believe this because accessibility, on a wide scale, helps everyone. Accessibility is an everyday problem, considering ultimate need for people to have accommodations. Sometimes you have to come up with unique and creative ways to get things done. Here’s a perfect example.

Some friends and I went to Myrtle Beach a while back. We were all so excited to go to the beach. Yet, there was no way for me to get down to the beach without my wheelchair getting stuck. We tried to find a sand wheelchair, but no luck. My friends had the brilliant idea to try using a sheet. My first thought was okay let’s try it! I always look at challenges this way— we try something, and if it doesn’t work, then we try something different. The sheet worked superbly and I made it to the spot on the beach that my sights were on.

Several years ago on a trip to New York City, I was looking forward to going to Dr. Jay’s clothing store. Unfortunately, they didn’t have an elevator, only an escalator to their second story men’s clothing area. Even though I could not get into the department, they brought the clothes down to me. The attitude of the staff made me feel appreciated as a person, and also proved that this store considered me a valued customer, despite a lack of wheelchair accessibility.  Not all businesses are that accommodating, but this store was quick to help.

What drives me crazy is that even though it is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, it does not mean the area is functional; particularly if the wheelchair operator is alone. The ADA is a federal law that protects people with disabilities, providing disability rights such as building access. But still, shortcuts are taken. For instance, meeting particular measurements alone doesn’t necessarily mean the area is accessible.  My pet peeve is that they do not have people with disabilities write these laws or check areas for accessibility, so in some cases even while they are “meeting” regulations, they still are unusable.

For example, let’s consider hotels. Finding a roll-in shower in a hotel is like finding a treasure chest at the end of an ocean rainbow. The only thing more difficult is making clear what a roll-in shower actually is.  A roll in shower is completely level with the ground, with no rise whatsoever, or barrier of any kind.  Many people consider the showers with a short lip of a few inches one of these showers but they are wrong.  Two or three inches might as well be six feet.  Also, most of the time the employees have no idea what a roll-in shower even is, although, most try to be as helpful as possible.  As a last resort, I’ve been offered showering in the pool locker area or using the local YMCA. While these solutions aren’t ideal, they are a solution to a sticky situation! Pun intended!

One more thing about hotels is that most handicap rooms only have one king bed. For someone like myself who need assistance, this hinders the ability to find a decent room and still have the accommodations they need. I usually ask for a roll-away cot brought in for my support person.

One of the most accessible cities is Atlanta, Georgia. The infrastructure of the sidewalks and the roads downtown are very accommodating for everyone. There was plenty of room to pass people and there were a lot of places that I could drive my wheelchair with no barriers.  The overall attitude of the people was helpful as well.

The most important thing about dealing with these challenges for me is staying calm and thinking through the situation to overcome issues.  Attitude, communication and kindness can make even the most inaccessible situation doable.  I’ve found if I stay open-minded and willing to try, most things work out. Accessibility makes life easier for everyone.  Think about it as you move through your bumpy roads each day.  Until next time, this is how I roll.

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This is How I Roll | Lessons Learned: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The best lessons I’ve learned in life are when I’ve been disappointed in someone or an unfavorable outcome. No one likes to be disappointed, but it does provide thought to issues and gives insight to situations.

We all stress about memories of good or bad experiences, and this tends to shape our reaction in the future. In my opinion, there is a lot to learn about a person. We can all learn from each other by observing how others deal with the good and the bad. If you talk to someone you trust about the bad times, in turn you’ll be better equipped to deal with more bad times as they come.

I’ve learned some people are all talk and make plans and promises, but when it’s time to get down to it— it’s all talk. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Most people have good intentions, but they speak too soon, and without thinking about what they are agreeing to. For me, actions do speak louder than words. Personally, I like to take my time to think and look it over before I commit to anything. I believe if more people did the same, and took the time to think about what they are committing to, we could be a better society. We live in such a fast-paced society, we often over book ourselves. Even if someone has the best intentions, their failure to complete the task typically leads to disappointment. In a lot of cases, something with their personal life comes up and I think it’s important to respect that. However, I also believe it is important to take a rain check and make plans for the future.

Overtime it’s been very difficult for me to maintain relationships with people because their actions never seem to match their promises. So, I watch body language. It’s my opinion that you can learn a lot from it. People tend to say one thing, but signal something else with their facial expressions or gestures. With some, I sometimes can get a feeling from their spirit or aura which helps guide my first impression of them. Your impressions of people can influence how the relationship grows and shapes. These impressions can change over time, of course— for either good or bad.

Through the years, you eventually learn to take it slow when developing trust; partially to see if someone’s actions match their words, partially to make sure their intentions aren’t to hurt you. Once you’ve been hurt, you begin to guard yourself in fear of letting someone back in. It’s especially hard for people whose intentions are good, because they have to work harder to prove themselves. Regardless of how or where you meet a person, there will always be that chance they will be a great reward to your life, or they could hurt you.

Simply put: people need to learn how to follow through.  There are many ways to maintain a positive relationship.  Listening is always a vital characteristic of a healthy relationship. Compromising on situations is equally important. Compromise is about valuing the other’s point of view. I wasn’t always good at compromising; it can be hard at points, but it’s the people around you that make compromise possible. When you put forth the effort to compromise with the people you trust, it doesn’t feel necessarily like a compromise. Try to find people in your life that you feel comfortable compromising with, and that care enough about your well being to compromise with you. Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to be put into a one-dimensional relationship. Take time to evaluate the situations and people in your life. Then take the time to evaluate your impact on others.

Until next time, this is how I roll.

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This is How I Roll | This is Why I Roll

By Grant Logsdon

I’ve been so focused on what’s happening in the world, I never took a step back to explain my column title.  I chose This Is How I Roll because I roll through life in a wheelchair.  I know I’m in a wheelchair, but I don’t focus on the chair.  My wheels are my wheels to freedom— I’m not confined.  I’m focused on my gifts and talents, living my life each and every day.  For inquiring minds that might think they need to know: I have cerebral palsy. I have never been able to walk.

Now, let’s get to know me better by talking music.  I love all types of different music, but my very favorite is hip hop.  I know that hip hop artists, as well as the community, get a bad rap. But before you shake your head in disapproval and turn off the computer, let me tell you why it’s my favorite.

The hip hop community locally and nationally have been open-minded to me and embraced me.  I’m more accepted in the hip hop community than in my own community.  If I’m at a dance, or present in the rap community, it isn’t questioned. There are no social barriers, or if there are, they are well hidden. While many don’t consider hip hop real music, I can relate to the stories and the struggles in the songs.

I’ve listened to different hip hop stations throughout the US, and have attended concerts in many different cities.  I’ve rolled the streets of New York City late at night with new found friends after an Alicia Keys benefit, without worrying about my safety.

I volunteered for Obama’s campaign in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.  The night before the first election, I got a call asking me to attend a rally at Xavier University on Election Day.  When I got there I was able to meet Beyoncé, Jay Z, Mary J Blige and several other artists.  Each artist spent time with me one-on-one.  I never expected to meet them and was impressed with how down to earth and gracious they were. Jay Z and I talked about business ventures; he’s a savvy businessman with real concrete ideas.  While most people listen to hip hop they can’t see the business side I was able to see by talking to him.  When I first got interested in hip hop I didn’t realize how the business side and music came together, but let me tell you, these guys and ladies are business people.

Another savvy businessman is Snoop Dogg.  I’ve met Snoop two times.  The last time I talked to him, we talked about business ideas too, and he related those ideas to his video of money raining down!  Everyone talks about Snoop and weed, but there’s more to him than that. The Snoop I know is a Christian.  When he put his hands on me, there was a calming energy that only comes from above.

While I haven’t met him yet, Lil Wayne is my favorite.  I’ve traveled to three states for his concerts and never been disappointed.  At one location, he was ill and still performed a terrific show.  He’s someone that doesn’t give up or give in to illness.  His live shows have jazz and rhythm and blues influences, not just rap music.  He has a photogenic memory, not writing out lyrics, using memory only.

I hope this lets you know me a little better.  Hope the chair and the hip hop didn’t scare you away.  Until next time, This Is How I Roll.

 

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This is How I Roll | Staying positive in a Negative World

By Grant Logsdon

It seems like more and more, with one terrible event after another, in our society it’s difficult to stay positive.  Whether it is financial hardships, the political climate or the stresses of raising children it is easy to fall into negativity.  Sometimes you have to take a long look at your personal situation and get real about how you want to live your life and what is needed for personal success.

I believe you have to make a conscious effort to be positive blocking out others’ opinions of what you should do or what you should be. You have to decide to make someone else happy or make yourself happy. It’s not easy.

For me, I know I have to stay positive and have to search out people and activities that make me feel optimistic and motivated.

I use music to relax and unwind.  Some music touches my heart and encourages me to help others, while some makes me happy and lets me dance away my troubles.  It’s just good old feel good music.  When I have a bad day, or a day that just wipes me out, music is my only way to relax, breathe and move forward.  It really helps me.

Swimming is another activity that relaxes me; I can just let the blues float away.  In the pool I really get in the zone.  I’m happy and it’s a good way to disconnect from news and noise. I also enjoy traveling.  I love exploring new places, new tastes and experiences. This keeps me positive.

The people around you either make you or break you.  I surround myself with authentic people and distance myself quickly from those that aren’t’ the real deal.  I know that’s easier said than done, but I owe it to myself to be around positive people.

My life experiences have taught me to look at a person’s heart, not physical appearance or their pocketbook, but rather their heart and actions.  I know what Maya Angelou meant when she said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Anytime I ignored my gut, I have regretted it.  It’s simple, you know yourself better than anyone.

Something new I’ve started this year is writing down my short and long term goals.  I have even been making a point to schedule time with friends so my friendships don’t suffer when life gets hectic.  My friendships are important to me; they keep me happy and keep me positive.  I believe in nurturing friendships.  Friendships are like seeds you cultivate and grow.  You never know how it will grow if you tend it.

Recently a group of friends I made years ago by reaching outside my community surprised me with a birthday lunch.  If I had not reached out I would never have known their love through thick and thin all these years, despite our differences.  The surprise was more about the relationship than just my birthday.  They took their time, on a rare day off, to surprise me.  How blessed I am.

Surround yourself with things you love and people you love, that is the surest way to stay positive.

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This Is How I Roll | Unity or Hate: The Ripple Effect

By Grant Logsdon

The holidays are an important time to bring families and community together.  They are a time of peace and love for all mankind.  Although this is great, it would be wonderful if we had peace all year, instead of just during the holidays. We can change our world one person, one family and one community at a time.

Mother Theresa said, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

Let’s talk about families.  Families need structure, respect and leaders.  Just as families are different, so are their leaders.  The family dynamic depends on culture, different geographic area and family makeup.  Leadership has nothing to do with age, sex, socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic makeup. It is all dependent upon circumstance within that family unit.

In my experiences traveling throughout Kentucky and other area of the country, I have observed how family culture impacts leadership.  I have met families where the youngest family member was the guiding force within the family, sometimes too young to carry such a leadership role, because of their life circumstance.  Society may not recognize or view them as leaders, but they are in that particular family. Whether identified or not.

When I think of family it is more than blood relatives.  To me, family means calmness, peace, no chaos or drama; it’s basically acceptance and understanding. It’s having people around you that you are at ease with, people who care.  I believe that is possible in any environment if people really want it and are willing to work toward it together. It is a personal choice.  It takes a strong family leader that sets the stage or paints the blueprint of peace within the family.

I’m not saying it is easy. People will disagree, argue and just be mad at one another.  Just because we do not agree does not mean we should turn to spewing hate.  We have to learn to agree to disagree peacefully.  We have to be able to hear people out and really, really listen even when we disagree.  Sometimes when you really listen it can awaken you to be more aware and look at the situation in a different way.

I have met families that were practically destitute but their home was calm and loving.  Families in eastern Kentucky come to mind.  They are a proud people, and if they welcome you in their home, you are special to them.  Anything you need will be provided if they possibly can.  They have few material things or services that most of us take for granted, but their home is full of respect and unity.  They make the most if what they have and are grateful.  I really think that is the answer, simpler lives and gratefulness. Perhaps stepping back in time, going back to the basics of kindness– good manners and love for one another– can mend our families, communities and nations.

It seems to me with the state of our world today, we are all so desensitized that we do not know kindness from evil or the next con-job.  We are suspicious of everyone and everything.  In my opinion, that has to stop.  I don’t blame anyone, unfortunately we have to be cautious and on our toes.  We have to be willing to have faith in others and give them a chance.

In order to restore our communities we need events that show people that others really do care.  It can be simple inexpensive things like town meetings, old-fashioned pot luck dinners, or ice cream socials;  maybe piggy backing on an already planned event.  Just get togethers where people could talk to one another and get to know one another.

As we approach the holidays, try to be more aware of others and more compassionate.  Smile at one another and say hello, or offer help if you think it is needed.  Just spread some happiness and goodwill.  Once the holidays are past, keep it up and see if your world is a little better.  Happy Holidays!

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This Is How I Roll | Introduction

By Grant Logsdon

Hi there, I’m Grant Logsdon.  My boss asked me to introduce my new column, “This is How I Roll,” by starting with myself– but wow. Talking about me is a tough assignment.  I’m multi-dimensional; I’m a mix of so many things. I’m a son, a brother and a friend.  I love Jesus Christ more than anyone or anything.  I also love going to the club, hip-hop music and a good shot of bourbon.  I’m up for any adventure, almost any prank or anything that’s a good time.  I’m not an all or nothing kind of guy.  I think outside the box . I don’t want to fit in the box.

I come from a big family with four siblings.  Actually, two sets of twins, and me.  Yes, I’m the only one without a twin.  I once met Dolly Parton when I was about nine years old and she was trying to figure out all these twins.  She asked, “Grant, where’s your twin?”  I told her I didn’t have one.  She said, “Well, I’ll be your twin.”

She’s encouraged me ever since, and I still hear from her sometimes.  Everyone needs encouragement.

We didn’t have a lot growing up but we had the most important thing: love.  We lived in the country, we didn’t have lots of video games. We played outside in the woods and dabbled in the creek—it was such fun. I used to love to sit on our bridge by the road and drink coffee and watch the neighbor’s horses. Well I did until people kept bringing me back up to the house; I guess they thought I had escaped. Oh country folks. I love ’em!

I graduated from Atherton High School in Louisville, and have finished two years of college.  I plan to finish my education with a degree in Communications.  I volunteer for several different non-profits and causes that are of interest to me.  Education and giving back are especially important to me.

I love to plant seeds exploring different ideas and topics for discussion and brainstorming, and then watching those ideas and philosophies grow.  I love to spend my time helping others reach their highest potential.  I’m all for justice, fairness and kindness; but I also believe in fighting for what’s right.  Like Hank Williams Jr. says in one of his songs, “not everyone likes me but those that do, will fight.” It’s OK if people don’t like me. I have plenty of good friends, and that’s what counts.

I’m independent in mind and spirit.  It drives me nuts when other people just settle.  Why do you settle? Really, why?  Are you afraid?  I don’t understand settling.  No matter the situation, make the best of it with no limitations.  I don’t like limitations.

I want to make the world a better place for each person.  Personal happiness is important to me.  Only you yourself know if you are happy.  I am happy and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I have things to work on, like everyone else, but I wouldn’t change anything about my life.  I challenge you to not settle and do everything you can each and every day to be happy and make those around you happy.

I hope through this column we can challenge each other in various ways.  I look forward to getting to know you, sharing my views with you. I hope you will do the same.