This summer, Canandaigua attorney John R. “Jack” Schuppenhauer got out his NYSARC hat — and his bike — for a ride along the Erie Canal to raise awareness for America’s largest nonprofit organization supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families.
Schuppenhauer, who is president of NYSARC Inc., participated in the final two legs of Journey Along the Erie Canal II, a 12-day, 365-mile trek that started in Tonawanda and ended July 11 in Albany as part of NYSARC’s 65th anniversary celebration.
Schuppenhauer is a partner at Chamberlain D’Amanda.
The journey began June 30 when John Robinson, who was born without full arms and legs, left Tonawanda on an adaptive bicycle. He is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and advocate for people with disabilities.
Throughout the trip, several NYSARC chapters conducted morning start ceremonies and afternoon welcoming events for Robinson and his colleagues, friends, family members and supporters. At each event, the hosting NYSARC chapter put a small flag on a larger ceremonial flag.
As the Robinson group was heading east, several downstate chapters began a similar journey called Together to Albany, which originated at Montauk Point State Park Lighthouse at the tip of Long Island. Along their way, NYSARC chapters conducted flag hand-off ceremonies at key bridges spanning the Hudson River.
The two groups met July 11 in Albany, where a ceremony took place to mark the anniversary. It included a march of more than 1,200 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, NYSARC leaders and members of NYSARC chapters. The flags were placed on the Capitol steps.
Flag bearers represented all 62 counties where 54 NYSARC chapters provide support and services.
Robinson and Doug Hamlin, a software executive paralyzed from the waist down, organized and completed the journey with the support of NYSARC. They founded Our Ability, a company owned and operated by people with disabilities to support people with disabilities.
— Photos courtesy NYSARC Inc.