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September 2015


The Michigan AgrAbility Facebook page had several new posts including several videos. While AgrAbility assistive efforts often focus on the individual with the disability, the "caretaker" of the individual with the disability, whether young or old, is often impacted by both the disability and the assistive technology. A Michigan AgrAbility staff member interviewed Jennifer Fuss, a farm wife to a husband with a disability and a farm mom to children with disabilities. Learn more about her perspective on the Michigan AgrAbility Facebook page.

Michigan AgrAbility solved a problem: An original difficult-to-climb vertical ladder on a combine.
Solution: A 12 volt winch raises and lowers this added-on sloped ladder. No permanent changes were made to this combine. Learn more about the solution on the Michigan AgrAbility Facebook and Pinterest webpages.

MI AgrAbility's Mark Lange (L) with Sage (C) & Trevor (R) ChesterMark Lange's Introduction of Himself

Ni hao, AgrAbility buddies. (Hello, AgrAbility buddies.)
Wo shi Chang Ma-ke. (I am Mark Lange.)
Wo shi nide peng-you. (I am your friend.)

For those of you who don't speak Mandarin, I'll continue the rest of this conversation in English (and for those who do, you can point out all my mistakes.) The Chinese translation of my name literally means "long strong horse". Hey, I could think of worse things to be called!

I have been invited by Ned Stoller to become the newest member of the Easter Seals AgrAbility team here in Grand Rapids, and I was very honored and excited to accept. I have been working at Easter Seals since Easter of this year in another capacity with a little time off in July. (Yeah, I started almost on Easter! You just can't make something like that up.)

I am the proud father of three handsome young men, 37, 25, and 20 (sorry ladies, the older two are married, and my youngest is sensibly waiting until he graduates from culinary school) so my duties in child rearing are done, but my duties in fathering go on happily forever.

I graduated with a master's degree in electrical engineering from Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering with a computer science minor from the University of Massachusetts Lowell back in... uh, uh... I forgot.

I am also a semi-retired electrical engineer from IBM who used to work on computer chips - really big ones with 1500 pins that work in things that can't fail, like stock markets and airline reservation systems. If one part of the system goes down, another part picks up the work and continues on. That's kind of what we do at AgrAbility. If a farmer needs help, we try to give him or her what they need to pick up their work and continue. That sounds like a pretty noble calling to me - more than just a paycheck.

This job is almost as cool as what my oldest son does for a living. MI AgrAbility's Mark LangeHe takes care of the animals at the Buffalo Zoo. I told that to someone at a social gathering and they remarked, "You mean they have a zoo just for buffalos?" Duh, no. They have a zoo IN BUFFALO! You just can't make something like that up.

As you might guess, I'm something of a gregarious person. So I look forward to meeting and working with each of you soon. I think it will be fun. And maybe we'll leave a little kindness in our wake.

Zai jian. (See you again.)

Submitted by Deb Chester