Tom Olin & Kathleen Kleinmann in front of the Road to Freedom Bus

Tom Olin: Social Documentarian

Tom Olin is the photojournalist recording the vital history of the direct action struggle for the disability rights. Tom has spent his life in the grassroots, building an incredible collection of iconic photos of our historic struggle for civil rights and inclusion. Some of the best of these photos are printed in GIANT SIZE and decorate the walls in of our Center for Independent Living (CIL), TRPIL, in Washington, PA, as well our sister CIL, Regional Center for Independent Living in Rochester NY.

Tom enjoys talking about the history of disability rights, and has traveled the nation leading the Road to Freedom Bus, which commemorates the milestone passage of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). It was on this voyage that he met tens of thousands of people. He’s shared our history, and his photos, with those he met. The bus is part of the The ADA Legacy Tour — a traveling exhibit designed to raise awareness and to inspire the future generations of advocates.

Last year, the bus was sidelined in Austin TX for repairs when Tom required urgent medical care himself. Soon he was moved to an ICU in a hospital in San Antonio, TX. Tom’s family has rushed to his bedside and has been in rotating attendance for over a month. They are asking his “family of friends” to aid them in their bedside vigil and advocacy within the medical system. This medical crisis is likely to continue for several more weeks in ICU and a long rehabilitation.

San Antonio is the best place for care, but not near to friends. Tom’s family has started a Go Fund Me page Go Fund Me campaign to help with post-transplant medical expenses, as well as to use some of the money to be nearby, so Tom will not be alone. If you know Tom, or would like to get to meet him, he will surely appreciate your contacting the family and offering to share moral support to continue the battle to recover health and help him to get back on the road.

This calendar page is for scheduling visits with Tom:

For more information, please contact TeamTom by email at

Tom Olin & TRPIL staff in front of the Road to Freedom Bus at the 2015 Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference