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Disability affects about 56.7 million people across the United States, according to Valley Medical. Its Rehabilitation Center — one of the largest on the West Coast — aims to optimize the heath and independence of its patients, whom often face barriers that hinder them from fully participating in society. Saturday’s event highlighted an often marginalized population in need of greater resources — and more opportunities to thrive. Ann Perkins, manager of rehab relations,  called the gathering “a celebration of life after rehabilitation.”.

“Community contacts and community activities are super important to people staying healthy,” she said, “Depression and substance ladies white ballet flats abuse are huge issues of people with spinal cord and brain injuries after they discharge, So this is one of the things that’s really helpful, is to be involved in the community and not feel like you’re stuck at home alone.”, Marvin Tuttle, of San Jose, arrived at the rehab center as a patient 19 years ago, where he stayed for six weeks, Today, Tuttle — who uses a wheelchair — is an active member of his community, volunteering at the rehab center as a peer mentor; as a diver at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; a scuba instructor for special needs kids and for Canine Companions for Independence, visiting schools and community events with his service dog, Yara..

On Saturday, the 67-year-old showcased his wheelchair accessible van as Yara rested in the shade. The disability community sometimes gets left out of so many things,” said Tuttle, a Vietnam veteran. “The more exposure we can get to hand cycles, water cycles, cars for people who want to drive…(the rehab center) is one of the true and maybe few venues that is doing this. It’s very important.”. Added Tuttle: “Fortunately for us, the state-of-the-art equipment is ever-changing. So we need to see the new things and the new practices and the new medicine. We don’t normally get to see it.”.

Guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer Steve Freund has explored many types of music, But since his teen years, his passion has been aroused by one particular ladies white ballet flats genre — the blues, “I was drawn in by the rhythm, the chord changes and the sound of the instruments,” Freund says, “Then, when I got a little older, more mature, I started to pay attention to the words, I could relate to a lot of these things, The Civil Rights movement was going and the American blacks were striving for a better life, I identified with them..

“Being Jewish, we empathize with other oppressed people. So I became involved in the Civil Rights movement. I wanted to understand the psychology of racism. A lot of answers can be found in music. Blues brought black and white people together. It crossed the color line.”. During childhood, Freund had black friends — his school in New York was among the first in the nation to be integrated. Born in Brooklyn in 1952, Freund heard early rock ’n’ roll on the radio. In his apartment building, the janitor, an African-American from Mississippi, played him Bessie Smith and other blues recordings — on 78s — from the 1920s and 1930s.

“I became immersed in that, but I didn’t really know what the heck it was yet,” Freund says, “The blues soothed me, This kind of music is very spiritual.”, At school, he enjoyed the British Invasion music his classmates played at dances, But, at 12, his preference was for James Brown, after seeing him in “The T.A.M.I, Show” concert film, Then he got into Motown and soul music, At 16, his interest turned to early Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, as well as Big Bill Broonzy, Albert King, B.B, King and Freddie King, An appreciation for jazz later blossomed, particularly swing artists such as ladies white ballet flats Charlie Christian, Freund was constantly hunting down records and researching..

He began playing blues guitar seriously in 1969, at age 17. Freund would religiously attend shows featuring artists like Otis Spann, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Sunnyland Slim. “I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to play with these guys someday.’”. In 1976, at 24, he tired of New York and drove with friends to Chicago. They were welcomed by many blues artists, including Big Walter Horton, Floyd Jones and Lee Jackson. “These were guys who never got famous, never made a lot of money, but they taught me how to treat people — just treat people the way you want to be treated. These guys were very free with their knowledge of music and their very country, down-to-Earth, honest philosophy of life,” Freund says.

“These were the grandchildren of slaves, They were very magnanimous people, They were not angry and vindictive, They didn’t really care if we were white, green or yellow, They just liked us for who we were and the fact that we loved their music, They took us under their wing, They encouraged me and inspired me to be the best ladies white ballet flats musician I could, Now I try to treat the younger guys like that, What goes around comes around.”, In Chicago, Freund re-introduced himself to piano player Sunnyland Slim, whom he’d met at a Greenwich Village show, Impressed with his playing, Slim hired him and became a mentor, Freund lived in the Windy City for 18 years, playing with many of the greats he had idolized..

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