SYSK: Helping people with disabilities get back to work - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Helping people with disabilities get back to work


Stephen Schrader started DisABLEd workers in Waterloo to provide information and grant-like funds to help people with disabilities get back to work or go to school.

"You're going to feel so much better if you get out there and do something," said Stephen Schrader.

How Schrader came to be sitting in his office on Ridgeway Avenue goes back to 1995.

"A guy rear-ended me as I was making a left hand turn, and he happened to be going 100 miles per hour at the time of hitting me," said Schrader.

The empty grain truck Steve Schrader was driving flipped. He flew out the side window.

"It contorted my body so much that I tore my spinal cord," Schrader.

Steve Schrader was paralyzed and also had a severe brain injury. He said it took about seven years for him to recover. Now, he's helping other people with disabilities get back to work.

"Just getting the information out there to people. Letting them know that life can continue. You're not going to lose your disability check because you find a part-time job. Now, we hope they can find a job where they can work their way off disability. That's the whole goal of the program," said Schrader.

One person who benefited from Schrader's help is Sherry Kiskunas, the assistant manager at DisABLEd Workers.

She has PKD, a chronic and progressive kidney disease.

"I have cysts inside my kidneys and all around my kidneys, which increase the mass of my kidneys," said Sherry Kiskunas.

When her condition worsened in 2006, it took her two years to find a job.

"My kidneys may not work, but my brain still does," said Kiskunas.

Sherry Kiskunas talks on the phone with other disabled workers. She helps them to find a job and answers questions about benefits.

Kiskunas and the other employees honored Steve Schrader and his wife with a plaque for their dedication to the job. So far, the business has more than two thousand clients across the country.

"The most rewarding part of the job is when you get somebody who said I can actually go back to work. They find a job and it just builds their self-esteem so much that they go I never knew I could do this," said Schrader.

Steve Schrader and Sherry Kiskunas prove having a disability doesn't mean you're disabled.

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