To the Editor:
At Our Ability, Inc. we have been paying close attention to the discussion about paving the Erie Canal Trail in DeWitt and are eager to express our strong support for the project.
Every summer, John Robinson and I lead the “Journey Along the Erie Canal” to raise funds and raise awareness for the abilities within everyone. The Journey is an adaptive bicycle ride covering the entire length of the Trail, 400 miles, from Buffalo to Albany over a 10-day period. (This is not “Cycle the Erie Canal” which takes place the week after our event). We are disabled athletes. I am a quadriplegic and John is a quadruple amputee, and we ride hand cycles alongside our friends and families. We are joined each day by numerous groups of people, many with a wide array of mobility or developmental challenges. This summer we were met by a young woman on her own hand cycle struggling through the mud on a rainy day outside Chittenango. She was determined to put in her miles despite the conditions, but with this new section complete just a few miles away, she will be able to push farther and faster next year. We get our inspiration from people like this throughout the Journey. Paving sections of the Trail, and eventually the entire Trail, will provide access to this unique and historic asset for a much larger and diverse group of people.
I am a huge fan of the Canal, its history and the artifacts that bring it to life as you run, walk, wheel or ride beside it. Our hand cycles ride only a few inches above the ground. It’s simply unsafe to ride them on the road due to visibility and the varying width and quality of the road’s shoulders. For us, the Canal provides a safe, beautiful and historic place to enjoy our sport. Paving the Trail enhances that experience and broadens its appeal.
DeWitt Clinton would be thrilled that there is this much excitement around the Canal 198 years after the first shovel of dirt was turned near Rome, NY!
Our Ability, Inc.
Doug Hamlin spent over 27 years at Versatrans (now part of Tyler Technologies). Fifteen years in both technical and marketing roles prepared Doug for executive leadership of this 80-person software company dedicated to providing exceptional products and service to the K-12 education industry.As President and CEO he traveled extensively throughout North America to understand the needs of clients and translate them into effective business solutions. Doug takes pride in developing corporate strategy and aligning the organization to execute that strategy. Doug has presented at numerous K-12 transportation and administration conferences on the value of leveraging technology to drive efficiency through the organization.
Doug has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography and a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He lives in upstate New York with his wife Pam.