Photo taken by Tom Olin
ROLAND “Commander” SYKES
June 1st, 1953 – March 10th, 2008
Wizard, Bit Twiddler, Philosopher, Teacher, and most fun of all . . . The Bus Driver for ADAPT
Roland was a co-founder of the Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton Ohio and a former president of the Ohio Statewide Living Council (SILC). Roland joined the disability community when working as a coal miner.
Roland was a much loved and respected leader in the national disability rights movement for well over 30 years. He was founder and president of GIMP, Inc. and DIMENET.com, the largest disability news publication in the US. Roland was a behind-the-scenes leader in ADAPT. He was the president of the board for Free Hand Press and a frequent contributor and supporter for Mouth Magazine. He was a founder of the Wheelchair Pilots in Dayton, OH, and Wheelchair Basketball at Wright State University.
If ever there was an ADAPT warrior moving on to Valhalla, it is Roland! His strong, unwavering support for disability rights from the way back days to today was one of the mainstays of our movement.
He moved us forward with his promotion of the Internet, DIMENET, virtual CILs and more. His humor, passion for disability rights and persistence were wonderful additions to our discussions all through the disability community. His behind the scenes support for ADAPT helped build and strengthen our network in countless ways.
The Big White Cloud (the bus) will remain a symbol of his mission and his ministry, and he will live on in those who loved him so well.
Roy and Roland explaining things to a reporter in Ohio
December 1st, 1942 – January 13th, 2008
Roy was a co-founder and retired Executive Director of the Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton. He was a past President of the Ohio Association of Independent Living. He served on many other boards and organizations that promoted the civil rights of persons with disabilities.
Roy was a veteran of the United States Marine Corp. He was a licensed pilot and dynamic leader of the former Wheelchair Pilots, Inc. Roy was the first pilot with a disability to fly in a major air show (Dayton Air Show, 1981).
He was a leader (local, state, and national) of the disability rights and independent living movements. Roy was a fiercely loyal friend who was deeply loved by many.
Roger proudly wearing his ADAPT shirt
December 2nd, 1946 – September 19th, 2010
Roger was a co-founder of the Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton Ohio. He was a recognized leader in the disability rights movement and in his community, the state of Ohio, and across the country. He was the founder and President for 27 years of Forward Motions, Inc., a provider of adaptive driving aids and vehicle conversions that made it possible for people with disabilities to drive.
Roger served on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities in Dayton, 1978-1986. He was one of the original members of the Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities, 1979-1987, in affiliation with the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission; served as President of the Ohio Rehabilitation Association, President of the National Association of Independent Living, and was a member of the National Council on Independent Living, ADAPT, First Steps Foundation, University of Michigan Rehabilitation Engineering Center, President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and served as a board member/chair of numerous non-profit and government organizations which advocated for people with disabilities, including the National Rehabilitation Association.
Roger was also a founder and President of Wheelchair Pilots, Inc. At the time of his death, Roger was serving as the Chairman of the Board of the Disability Network of Ohio/Solidarity. He was active in Democratic Party politics and involved in a number of high profile political campaigns. He was present at the signing of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) at the White House in 1990, one of many proud moments in his life.
Roger lectured on disability issues for years at Universities in several states. Roger was a pioneer, a leader and a role model. He was a force unto himself and influenced many lives with his positive, can-do attitude. His achievements in advocating for people with disabilities were numerous and award-winning; and have had and will continue to have long-lasting effects on the disability rights movement.
Roger was a proud graduate of Wright State University, where he earned a degree in Rehabilitation Education, served on the Architectural Barriers Committee, and began his life-long disability advocacy work.
He loved Raider basketball and attended every game he could for decades. He was a great sports fan and tried to never miss the Buckeyes, Reds, and Bengals.
Roger was a veteran of the United States Army, serving his country 1966-1968. His time in the Army enabled him to travel the world. He was a life-time member of Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Together: Roland, Roy and Roger formed The Rolling Rs and were a force to be reckoned with! The Access Center for Independent Living, staff and board, would like to extend our condolences to the families of Roland, Roy and Roger. They are greatly missed.