Woody Osburn Interview

(Woody Osburn was one of our Guests of Honor for TRIPIL’s 20th Anniversary event. Woody galvanized TRIPIL and the State of Pennsylvania’s disability rights movement during the 1990’s to start the push for the right of disabled people under aged 60 in rural Pennsylvania to have access to rural public transportation.)

Recently Kate Blaker sat down and talked with this TRIPIL Patriot and Oklahoma native about his thoughts and memories of his time here at Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living.

Kate Blaker: What is your name and when did you first join TRIPIL?

Woody Osburn, 1992.

KB: In a few words what does TRIPIL mean to you?

TRIPIL is more than a location or a building. It is a flower in the desert, an oasis of sorts, but don’t get too comfortable because it represents rugged individualism, teamwork, fierce independence, peers, control, democracy, helping others to help themselves, support, stubborn resolve, creativity, information, training, debate, skills, strategic thinking, street savvy, legal battles, leadership, civil rights, civil action, civil disobedience, civility, segregation, integration, aggravation, injustice, justice, patriots, honor, obstacles, resources, referral, a smile, a frown,
laughter, tears, friendship, enemies, equality, diversity, tolerance, intolerance, toughness, negotiation, hard work, vision, dreams, building,
progress, growth, purpose, ambition, good enough is not good enough, advocacy, activism, when they have you surrounded give them one last chance to surrender, solidarity, members, struggle, peace, love, hope, passion, freedom, faith, doubt, dignity, integrity, honesty, risks, toughness, philosophy, pragmatism and the foundation that holds it all together are the disability proud people in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Sorry about all the stuff I left out.

KB: What positions did you hold as a member and as an employee?
Summer and autumn 1992, W.R. Osburn Consulting for nine weeks.
January 1994 to March 1995, civil rights specialist and ADA trainings.
May 2002 to October 2003, civil rights worker
Voted by members as honorary lifetime member of TRIPIL board of directors

KB: What was the most memorable achievement or event that took place in your time with TRIPIL?

When we became a consumer-controlled voting membership organization.

KB: How has TRIPIL changed in time you spent here?

From a handful of people working in a very new independent living center housed in a house to a center for independent living that is a major member-owned disability rights organization in the local, state, and federal arenas.

KB: What role does TRIPIL do now that it did not do in the past?

Springs people from nursing homes, provides supports in the community to keep them sprung, scares the right people, member-owned, technology giant, and has graduated from stepping stone to destination.

KB: What challenges do you see TRIPIL taking on in the next 20 years?

Whatever bullshit politicians, bureaucrats, and bigots toss in the way.

KB: Before you became a member, what were some of the needs and obstacles you had as a disabled member of the community?

Attitude, fear, ignorance, intolerance, segregation were my ball and chain. Still are. Gotta fight that without making concessions and trust each other.

Real change comes one generation at a time.

KB: Did TRIPIL help you find ways to address those needs or overcome those obstacles?


KB: Can you run down what memories you feel ware most important to you each year you were a member?

Too many. The past is the past.

KB: Perhaps provide a time line of moments and events.

2010 is the most important year.

KB: Is there anything else you would like to share or remember about your time with TRIPIL?

It was our time and we were better than we knew.

KB: Thank you for sharing your time with us.

Thank you for letting me.

Last updated July 2010