Responsibilities at the Trauma Foundation
I was part of a grassroots movement to enact a mandatory motorcycle helmet
law in CA. I have a particular interest in this, because in 1981 in Texas,
I was severely injured in a crash while riding my motorcycle without a helmet.
I was 15 years old. I broke my neck, and for almost 30 years, I have dealt
with my injury (quadriplegia) which includes the daily use of a ventilator.
With the Trauma Foundation, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I traveled to counties, cities and Independent Living Centers soliciting support for the helmet law. I manned phone trees, testified at hearings and spoke to policymakers, media outlets (print and TV) and conference participants. I contributed to newsletters, books and general discussions on the power of authenticity.
I was an example, an expert and a student, interesting because I had only an 8th grade education. I felt everything was accomplished by trial and error including deciding what I was going to do with my life. That question was premature because I had so much growing to do and life’s challenges would grow more intense before I could honestly begin to address the question.
An example of feeling that I have come full circle is that I also serve as Vice President of my Condo Association, in which former Assemblyman Dick Floyd lives. Floyd was the author of California's Motorcycle Helmet bill.
Liked most about the Trauma Foundation
The people. After which comes employment and feeling like I was part of something constructive, real and important. It was so important to me to make a contribution back to my community to make a difference. I sometimes feel guilty that I couldn’t have done better work for the Trauma Foundation. At the time, I was merely surviving. I’ve learned so much since then, developed skills which surely would have come in handy if I knew then what I know now. But don’t we all say that?
Learnings still useful
At the Trauma Foundation I learned persistence, accountability and hope. I also learned to spell Liz’s last name correctly. Honestly I was still really a kid, confused, experiencing physical and mental pain that I could not identify with and dependent on others. The Trauma Foundation and the people I got to know there were a life-line. I truly feel that my time at the Trauma Foundation was the beginning of an awakening. There was a time when I was at the Trauma Foundation, that I was headed towards the light, but at times, that light was pretty dim.
I am fully employed by the State of California to run a hazardous waste
recycling program for CalRecycle, a division of the Natural Resources Agency.
I help keep lubricating oil (hazardous waste) in the recycling loop. Manufacturers
of lubricating oil pay a tax to CalRecycle, which administers the Oil Recycling
Enhancement Act. The Act funds the work I do in
the Used Oil Program. It
is the mission of my program (Certification & Registration) to ensure
used oil in California reaches an approved recycling facility. I deal
daily with stakeholders, corporations, small businesses, and manage a staff
of student assistants. My boss understands when health issues make
it impossible for me to get to the office. But aside from that, I go into
the office every day with the same high standards of productivity applied
to me. It’s just easier for me because no one enjoys coming through
that door more than I do.
I own my home, live by myself, and have a staff of four which continue to meet my needs in all the activities of daily living. From the time of my injury I could connect with those coming to grips with a new spinal cord injury. I love the power of authenticity, being a survivor, advocating for solutions to issues that I know inside out.
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Email address: steve.lambert at calrecycle.ca.gov or go2moby at gmail.com