Steve Savage was my friend. He was a fellow Hoosier that entered the disability employment field at about the same time I did. I was actually aware of Steve before we became friends. I remember him doing wild presentations at APSE with his partner, Patrick Sandy. I was always impressed with the passion and commitment they displayed as they challenged people to think differently and more importantly, to act differently about helping people with significant disabilities enter the workforce.
Steve and I became good friends while we were serving on Institute for Rehabilitation Issues work groups. We spent many hours in Washington, DC talking about what each of us could do to improve employment for people with disabilities.
Steve served on the board of directors of national APSE during my term as President. I could always count on Steve to provide straight answers and critical input. Steve and I wrote the bylaws for the APSE Foundation. I was always happy that our views of the world were in sync, which made this particular task much easier than it should have been.
Steve was a doer. He walked the walk. I cannot recall a time during our acquaintance when he wasn’t actively doing something. He was approachable, affable and funny. He worked tirelessly to establish the BLN (Business Leadership Network) in Indiana as well as working with other states.
When given a project, Steve always came through. He made an impact on everyone who came in contact with him. Steve was also the first recipient of the David Hammis Award in 2013. I know how proud he was to receive this great honor named after one of his dear friends and heroes.
There aren’t enough words or pages to contain my feelings about Steve. I always looked forward to his periodic and random phone calls. Whenever we were together, it was a great time for friendship, deep conversations and those goofy jokes that only Steve could tell. The field of disability employment has lost a great champion and hero, and I have lost a dear friend. (Editor’s note: Steve Savage died Feb. 13, 2015.)
Griffin-Hammis Associates, Inc.
St. Paul, MN