October 2, 2012 > Milpitas Town Hall meeting
Milpitas Town Hall meeting
By Mia Bradway Winter
The public is invited to meet and hear Sean Simonson speak on Emergency Preparedness at the City of Milpitas Town Hall Thursday, October 11th. The event is hosted by the Milpitas Community Advisory Commission (CAC).
Simonson was a Milpitas fire fighter for five years before his career was interrupted by a biking accident in 2006 which broke his neck and left him a quadriplegic. He was hospitalized for 70 days. During his rehabilitation, his doctors told him to, "...expect a life in bed with 24 hour care for the rest of your life." His determination and fortitude have enabled him to "never ever quit" - not only for his loved ones, but for Milpitas, the nation and for disabled persons.
A quiet man with humble beginnings, Simonson is a recipient of the State of California "Emergency Services Manager of the Year" award (2009). He was also recognized in 2006 by the City of Milpitas as "Firefighter of the Year." To his credit, he is the program developer of a federally adopted national tracking system for disabled persons during a disaster. Earlier in his career as an emergency responder with the Huntington Beach Search and Rescue team in Southern California, he developed an emergency tracking system to assist in identifying disabled and elderly persons in the event of an emergency. When he attended The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard for National Preparedness Leadership Training, his tracking proposal was accepted by FEMA. It is now in the early stages of deployment.
His disability has neither stopped his drive as an advocate of the Americans with Disabilities Act - or as an athlete. He is an inspiration to the Para-athletic community, entering numerous competitions and winning many triathlons and marathons since 2007. He won his first Iron Man challenge at the Buffalo Springs Triathlon in 2008 and 2010 competing on the relay team as a run-participant. According to Simonson, "It is known as one of the hardest triathlons in America. No other quadriplegic has completed this race." On October 12, 2012, he will compete again in the Challenged Athlete's Foundation Million Dollar Challenge fundraising event.
(http://www.challengedathletes.org/site/c.4nJHJQPqEiKUE/b.6449023/k.BD6D/Home.htm). The event starts in San Francisco and ends in San Diego (seven days, 620 miles). Over the past three years Simonson has raised over $50,000 dollars for the cause. He expects to raise another $10K for this event. He trains approximately 100 miles per week on his hand bike, through the streets of San Jose, to keep in shape.
The 38-year-old Simonson has been leading the emergency preparedness efforts for the Office of Emergency Services, City of Milpitas Fire Department, for the past six years. His studies at The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard on National Preparedness Leadership Training, and Executive Leadership at Cornell University have made him a leader in local and nationwide emergency preparedness education and implementation. Simonson manages hundreds of disaster volunteers for the City of Milpitas and throughout Santa Clara County. He is currently staff liaison to the Milpitas Emergency Preparedness Commission.
Through the generosity of local merchants, CAC will raffle off $500 in prizes to members of the audience. The first 50 families to attend receive a special gift bag. More importantly, you'll learn how to protect yourself, your family and your loved ones in the event of a city-wide emergency,
Milpitas Town Hall
Thursday, October 11
Milpitas Community Center
457 E. Calaveras, Milpitas
(behind City Hall)
See u-tube video: "Never Ever Quit," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nMp70yTt5A
Mia Bradway Winter is vice chair of the Milpitas Community Advisory Commission