Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Victory for Amputees Everwhere

A ruling by a New Jersey medical board ruled yesterday has brought 34 year-old Isaac Feliciano one step closer to his dream of becoming a firefighter.

That’s amazing because Isaac Feliciano lost his leg to gangrene from spinal meningitis at age five.

Still, despite that disability, he starred on his high school football and baseball teams and ran sprints in the Paralympics.

The medical board’s ruling overturned a decision by the city of Paterson, which had blocked Mr. Feliciano from joining its fire department - despite the fact that he easily passing the Fire Department’s physical exam - because he wore a prosthetic leg below his left knee.

According to the New Jersey Merit System Board’s decision, "There is no state law or regulation precluding an individual who has a prosthetic from serving as a firefighter."

The Merit System’s Board’s ruling orders Feliciano to be retroactively reinstated to the hiring list to enter the Paterson Fire Department Academy - the last step before becoming a firefighter.

Feliciano was expectedly ecstatic over the decision, "I feel like a trail blazer. It's not just about me anymore. It affects many other amputees," Feliciano said.

"My advice to others is you have to put the work in. You have to go beyond the requirements," he added.


Dan O. said...

Just like anything, if you can pass all current requirements without any "dumbing down" of the rules, then you deserve the same chance as everyone else.

Shouldn't that go without saying?

It certainly must not be a handicap to him.

Good Luck, Isaac!

JMK said...

"Shouldn't that go without saying?" (Dan O.)

It certainly should.

It's kind of ironic that the same cities that water down exams and dillute the standards for regular applicants, don't see that it's important to apply the same standard to all!

Isaac Feliciano passed the exams and did very well and was still initially denied entrance because of something he had no control over.

Bottom line, he passed those tests! He made the grade.

Mr. Feliciano didn't ask for any special consideration, all he asked was to be judged on the same standard that everyone else was judged on.

I hope the next stop for this fellow is the Fire Academy and not another court room.

jeremayakovka said...

Great story. Inspirational and more.

JMK said...

It really is great that this guy's finally getting his chance Jere.

It's odd that the same folks who seek to lower standards for entire groups of people, looked to scrap this guy's opportunity even though he was able to compete on the existing standards and didn't ask for any quarter at all.

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