2014 Disability Awareness Month Heroes - KPBS
As part of the Union Bank Heritage Month celebrations, we are proud to sponsor the Cultural Diversity Partnership Awards and to honor various individuals for the positive contributions and influence they have made to the community.
The honorees will be formally recognized as part of the Cultural Diversity Partnership Awards, which Union Bank sponsors with public television station KPBS. The station will also broadcast video profiles of the honorees throughout its Disability Awareness Month programming the month of October.Congratulations to our 2014 Local Heroes of the Year:
Travis David Ricks
Senior Programs Manager and Athlete Relations
Challenged Athletes Foundation
Travis Ricks is the Senior Programs Manager and Athletes Relations at Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF). He started with CAF as a volunteer and mentor in 2004, he now coordinates the Catch a Rising Star workshops, grant evaluations, athlete relations and community outreach. After 18 months, Ricks started traveling regularly for his work. He coordinates and attends CAF’s Amputee Mobility Clinics, eight clinics held around the U.S. every year that teach basic running skills to new amputees. In 2013 he ran a clinic for those injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. In addition, he travels to Oklahoma for the Endeavor Games, which he describes as a mini Paralympics. There, he meets families and introduces them to the services CAF provides. He is a triathlete and for the last five years has done a lot of racing and won a national championship in 2011. When Travis Ricks learned he had cancer in his right leg, he was a star football athlete in high school. Sports were his life. Understanding the needs of newly injured athletes, he developed Project N.Ex.T, a San Diego County program that pairs athletes who are newly injured with a similarly disabled mentor.
Manager of Latino Affairs
San Diego Padres
Alex Montoya is Manager of Latino Affairs for the San Diego Padres, a published author, blogger and motivational speaker. Montoya has lived all his life as a triple amputee, a result of his mother, while pregnant, taking thalidomide, a medication known for causing birth defects. Since childhood, His goal was always working in baseball, particularly for the San Diego Padres, fifteen years ago, that dream came to fruition.
He started out as an usher, just out of college, after eight years, he was invited to work in the front office in a full-time position.
Montoya, who loves to write has shared his story through the publication of two books, “Swinging for the Fences: Choosing to Live an Extraordinary Life” and “The Finish Line.” He has a weekly blog called, “AMOtivational Mondays.” In it, he encourages readers to set high goals, fight doubts, dream the impossible “and always keep swinging!”
One of his proudest achievements occurred in 1996 when he was a student at University of Notre Dame and he carried the Olympic Torch for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Recently, Montoya spoke at the Monarch School for children who are homeless, and shared his inspirational message.
View past Disability Awareness Month Honorees