Last Thursday I had the honor of being present at the Arizona court of Appeals Division One Investiture of Randall M. Howe. I've known Randy for years as a fellow board member of Arizona Center for Disability Law, and he was president at the time he was given this honor. The ceremony was held at the Disability Empowerment Center. The center itself is remarkable, and well worth visiting. The ceremony was wonderful: emotionally moving, and (for me) educational. After the ceremony, we went to the reception in the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center. We were in one-half of the entire gymnasium, which is a work of art. The entire facility is breathtaking. When I think of people like Virginia Piper and Nina Pulliam who gave so generously to support the community in so many different ways, I stand in awe of them. But I digress. Seeing a person of the caliber of Randy Howe sworn in to the Court of Appeals is a moment I will always treasure. We as citizens are blessed to have Randy Howe on the bench.
My illustrious, multi-talented daughter-in-law just passed the Washington State bar, and was sworn in on November 6, 2008. It was an arduous journey, but well worth it, as people with disabilities in Washington State will benefit. She passed the bar in Arizona in 1982. She was at the Attorney General's office for about two-and-a-half years, and was the Maricopa County Volunteer Lawyers Program Director for about three years. While there, she initiated several programs with the help of her staff. Her major area of concentration after the volunteer lawyers program, was workers' compensation law, which involves disability and rehabilitation, etc. She spent several years representing injured employees and several years representing employers/insurance carriers. Then, in April, 2002, Kerrie left the practice to be the president and director of the Meyerson Foundation. Her husband (and my son), Ron Simpson, took over the directorship in October, 2006, but she's remained active as president. She took the bar in Washington so that she can help families with guardianship applications and consult with the foundation's various projects in a legal capacity. Kerrie has many talents. She is a devoted pet lover, and she and my son, Ron, currently have two golden retrievers, a St. Bernard, and a beautiful cat, Sneakers. They recently lost Ms. Higgins, a cat, and Shimmy, a cocker spaniel. The all-time combination of dogs is Boz and Micus (Amicus), which Ron and Kerrie owned when they met over 10 years ago. An unbeatable team, and remembered with fondness and chuckles. Kerrie spins some of her own yarn, sometimes using the combed-out fur from her dogs, and knits hats, gloves, scarves, ponchos, booties (she even created some Pekingese booties for two cute dogs in Peoria), socks, and more. She is also a certified Personal Fitness Coach, and monitors my strength training. In addition, she's an encyclopedia of knowledge on nutrition and health. When Kerrie was six months old, her mother, Nancy Joy Kerr, developed polio, and was wheelchair bound for the remainder of her life. Nancy also had diabetes, and in her last years, a stroke. Her recovery was due in large part to Kerrie's devotion to her. Kerrie's stepfather, Lee Meyerson, had severe physical disabilities as well. Both parents were professors of psychology at ASU, and very committed to helping people in the disability community. They left a legacy of inspired family and students, and founded the David and Minnie Meyerson Foundation for people with disabilities. My interest in supporting the needs of people with disabilities is a direct result of the Kerr-Meyerson influence that Kerrie and my son, Ron Simpson, are currently involved in. The four of them are my heroes.