APRIL Logo with the words, "The United Voice  of Independent Living in Rural America."

2010 - Linda Gonzales Award for Outstanding Rural Youth 

Staff at Wyoming Services for Independent Living did a pretty good job of keeping the secret from Corey McGregor. They knew he’d be getting the Linda Gonzales Award at the APRIL Conference and almost let it slip a couple of times, but Corey never caught on. So when he saw his name in the conference program, he was totally surprised. 

“I’m truly honored to receive this award. I’ve seen others get it the last couple of years, but never dreamed it could be me. It was especially great to meet Linda herself and to receive the award from her. I’ve never spoken in front of so many people, so I had a pretty bad case of stage fright, but Linda really helped loosen me up with her humor and a smile.”

Corey says his challenge and his joy have come from helping folks new to their disability “find their pathway.” He remembers not knowing “where to begin” himself and has worked with several people to find the resources and services they need to become independent. His work with AgrAbility has brought him to several farmers and ranchers with disabilities who don’t know what services are available. He says in Wyoming they have a saying that when an accident happens or someone is hurt they need to “Cowboy Up” so many people don’t seek help. Through WSIL’s AgrAbility grant, they can do assessments of someone’s whole operation, their home, ranch and family. From that they offer options to get people back on their tractors, back to work or they even offer livestock training that will get people riding again. 

Corey is one of the co-founders of Wyoming Disabled Hunters and is especially pleased about inviting a couple of young men to their hunting event this past year. Coming from a small town was very tough for one of them who says he “takes a lot of teasing” about his disability. There’s also not much to do, so he ends up “sitting around” a lot. The hunt club was just the ticket. The young man met new people, had a great time and even told Corey, “I’ve felt like family here and it just feels good to not feel different.” His parents said their usually “very reserved” son “just opened up. It was great to see him smiling and laughing along with everyone else.”

Congratulations again, Corey – we look forward to you “corralling” more folks into the IL Movement.