Support Coordination

An Eventful October for Lydia

December 18, 2023

Senator Chuck Graham Memorial Disability and Advocacy Ambassador Award

Lydia accepts an award at the October City Council meeting from Mayor Barbara Buffaloe. She stands near a podium holding a plaque and people stand and clap behind her.

The Disabilities Commission of the City of Columbia recognized the first Senator Chuck Graham Memorial Disability and Advocacy Ambassador in October, and Lydia Olmsted was thrilled to receive the award. According to the nomination form, the award recipient demonstrates inclusivity for people with disabilities and an interest in policy development that affects the lives of people with disabilities.

“Sen. Graham was a fierce and relentless advocate for persons with disabilities,” said Lydia. “I felt very humbled when I found out I was selected as the inaugural winner of the award created in memory of him. It means the world to me that the Columbia City Council and Disabilities Commission think so highly of my advocacy initiatives, and receiving the award in memory of Sen. Graham motivates me to follow in his footsteps and keep pushing for inclusion and positive change.”

Lydia received the award at the October 16th City Council meeting and was presented with a plaque by Mayor Barbara Buffaloe. The City worked with Missouri Assistive Technology to braille the plaque and add an audio feature that speaks what is displayed in print since Lydia is blind and hard of hearing.

Keynote Speaker at the Missouri Centers for Independent Living (MOCIL) Annual Convention  

MOCIL is a statewide association dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities, and at their Annual Meeting in October, Lydia was the keynote speaker.

Foul Ball Lands in Hands of Blind Cardinals Fan

Lydia is a huge Cardinals fan and attended the final weekend of their season expecting a great game, but unexpectedly catches a foul ball from the stands. Lydia explains how the fly ball ended up in her hand:

“We were on the lower level near the on-deck circle, and the ball bounced off of the level above, came back down, and landed gently in my palm! My mom said the ball was initially coming toward her hand, suddenly disappeared, and then was in my hand before she knew what happened. Tom Ackerman, who I’ve known for a while and is the sports director for a St. Louis radio station called KMOX, was at the game and came to interview me from the stands when I texted him about what happened. He then aired my interview twice the next day on his weekly show ‘Sports on a Sunday

Morning’. It was aired right before he spoke with both the Cardinals manager and the Cardinals President of Baseball Operations respectively, and they both commented on what a neat moment that was. If you’d like to listen, here is the link to my interview with Tom.” episodes/foulballlandsinhandofblindcardinalsfan3b8b8

 Lydia’s Support Coordinator Tory Sights isn’t surprised about Lydia’s outstanding month and many accomplishments.

Tory said, “Working with Lydia is truly a privilege and a pleasure. The way she focuses on her strengths and advocates for her needs inspires me to do the same in my own life. I’ve tried to make sure Lydia feels supported by meeting with her weekly to best coordinate her supports and services. It’s evident to me that with appropriate accommodations her potential is limitless.”

When asking Lydia about her future plans, she “wants to become a digital accessibility consultant and/or advocate for persons with disabilities in order to create a more inclusive world for all.” It appears she is well on her way.