Willis Washington is a citizen who cares about others. Willis was injured in a motorcycle accident 5 1/2 years ago. Willis is a T-11 complete spinal cord injury and became involved with NeuroResources Outreach Services Peer Mentoring, Advocacy, Fundraising, and Accessibility Housing Programs in 2011. Through this adversity, Willis found his purpose – helping others continue after paralysis. He serves in many capacities to help others including: Chair of the Oklahoma Disability Democratic Caucus (ODDC), Policy Advisor, Advocate, and Peer Mentor for the Oklahoma United Spinal Association Chapter. Chairperson of NeuroResources Outreach Services Wheels of Change Advocacy Group Advisory Committee and Director of Program Development for NeuroResources Outreach Services of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Recently Willis has received “The 2015 Disability Advocate of the Year Award” from United Spinal Association while in Washington DC, and “The 2015 Don Davis Award” – from the Mayor’s Committee on Disability Concerns; which is the highest honor given; for public recognition of extraordinary meritorious service, which has substantially advanced opportunities for people with disabilities.
Willis is a former Board Member, Progressive Independence, Norman ,OK and Current Vice President /Board Member, Volunteer Assistant Wheelchair Basketball Coach, and Volunteer Referee, (Youth Division) – Oklahoma Adaptive Sports Association of Oklahoma City, Ok also known as (OKASA). Most recently Willis has been recently appointed to the Mayor and Governor’s Committees on Disability Concerns.
Prior to his injury, Willis owned a small home repair and remodeling business AWS Construction Company, and was a limousine driver /personal assistant of David & Maryann Johndrow of Johndrow Vineyards. He plans to establish an “Affordable Accessible Housing” program in Oklahoma, and he is currently working on his dream project with a small group of individuals to develop an “Accessible Community”, with a Health and Recreational Center, and Disability Empowerment Center surrounded with “Affordable Accessible Homes”. Willis considers this project his “Pay It Forward” contribution to society.
The path to advocacy started for Willis about 4 ½ years ago. While in Chicago, IL attending an accessible housing training Willis experienced his first taste of disability discrimination. It was his “Rosa Parks” moment, because he was literally kicked off the bus while in his wheelchair because it was an inconvenience to the driver of the bus to secure and fasten his wheelchair in the designated area for disabled wheelchair user’s and he was told that he had to “Get Off The Bus!”; which was a public tour bus. Willis vividly remembers that feeling today and uses it as motivation to right the wrong of discriminatory obstacles. He is planning, and saving up to make a special trip back to Chicago to address and correct this incident.
To date he and the Wheels of Change Coalition Advocates have successfully stopped a major catheter cut that would have had a devastating effect on Medicaid Recipients here in the state of Oklahoma. In 2015 Willis and the Wheels of Change Coalition Advocates have successfully advocated and passed CRT (Complex Rehabilitation Technology) legislation at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The passage of SB 494 will establish protection and ensure access to CRT for the disabled Medicaid Recipients in Oklahoma.
Willis was born and raised in District 97. He attended and graduated from the “Original” John Marshal High school. He started his college education at Rose State College. He later earned a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Accounting from Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. Willis has received training in the field of Mediation and Arbitration, and just needs to complete his practicum observatory hours to receive his certification in Conflict Dispute Resolution.
Willis, has worked in the Accounting, IT, Real Estate, and Customer Service industries during his life time. He is an aspiring Entrepreneur at heart and recently established A-Daptive Solutions & Consulting LLC. Willis has future plans to continue his training in Accessibility Services as an Independent Accessibility Specialist and Accessible Home Builder and Developer. He enjoys helping others, traveling, and rooting on his “Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball Team”.
Willis Washington was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He moved to the suburbs of Dallas, and Frisco, Texas for a period of 10 years before returning to his roots in Oklahoma City with his construction company AWS. To date he is proud to have played a part in implementing the new highway section improvement of Interstate I-40 near the downtown Oklahoma City area.
Willis is extremely excited about the next chapter of his life. He plans to write a book detailing his life experiences. Willis lives to help others in this world of givers and takers; Willis definitely is a “giver”.