Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Robert Glover - Strength Comes Through Adversity

Robert Glover was born premature in 1958. He had severely crossed eyes and was quickly diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) leaving him very nearly sightless. Growing up he found school very challenging, he struggled with reading and was forced to use large print books. In ninth grade Glover dropped out of school and entered the job force.

“I worked a lot of different jobs,” Glover said. “I have great people skills so jobs were easy to come by; however, due to my conditions they were very hard to keep.”

The constant struggle and pain of poverty became the daily norm for Glover until he hit a streak of luck in 1995.

“It was discovered that I had juvenile cataracts, which is curable with surgery. After the surgery I could really see for the first time,” Glover said.

He went out and bought a truck to celebrate. Two weeks later he ran out of gas on the highway and was hit by a hit and run driver while walking to get more fuel for the truck. The accident destroyed one of his legs, resulting in an amputation and severely impaired vision. Glover was forced to spend nearly a year in a wheelchair before he could learn to walk again.

In 2003 Glover got a divorce and moved back to Ohio to live with his family.

“I left a very nice life in Florida,” Glover said. “When I got to Ohio I applied for public assistance and had to go to Goodwill to work it off.”

That is where he met Harry Corbissero, who was teaching a motivational class.

“Harry and I just hit it off right away. In his class we would sit around a big table and talk about all the things that bother us. So I did that and Harry eventually asked me to lead a class,” Glover said.

Corbissero encouraged Glover and told him that he should pursue a career in Communication. However, his memories of childhood schooling held him back.

“One night I was having a long-winded conversation about education with my son,” Glover said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Well what about you Dad? You didn’t graduate.’ I couldn‘t argue with him.”

Not long after he called the ‘Able’ program at Kent State University. The ‘Able’ program assists disabled adults in getting their GEDs.

“I talked to a man named Doug,” Glover said. “I told him I wanted to take classes but had no transportation, struggled with reading and was unsure of my capacity. Doug assured me that they had public transportation and gave an answer for all of my barriers. He took away all my excuses, so I went.”

He passed his GED test and was the guest speaker at his graduation. Emboldened by his success he started taking college classes at Kent and has already achieved an Associate‘s degree in Science. He is currently 30 credit hours away from a Bachelors Degree in communications.

Glover has dreams of being a public speaker one day and is currently writing an autobiography, “I want to be an advocate for people with disabilities. I want to reach the people who are down and out who say they can’t do it. I feel blessed that I’ve been given the courage to move forward in a positive direction.”

This May Glover will be speaking at the Goodwill Industries of Ashtabula, Inc. awards banquet and we are thrilled to be able to support him in his dream of inspiring others.

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