Kerry has been asked to give a speech to a support group for those with disabilities.
Here it is:
My name Kerry Purdy. I am here to speak on people with disabilities entering challenging careers, such as first responders and the military. I have wanted to enlist in the military or become a police officer since I was fourteen, and I feel like I have been put down and ridiculed for having such goals-which, in the log run has simply made me more determined.
I feel like I would be a very good candidate for the military or a career along the lines of a police officer or firefighter for several reasons. I have the desire to serve, make sacrifices, and protect others. I am a serious outdoors woman. I have hiked and camped in numerous locations: the Appalachian Trail, in sand in Florida and Georgia, and in ice in Alaska. I have carried fifty-pound packs over mountains. I often helped lead hikes, and set up camp. I am also a cross country runner. I was one of the first on my school's team. I enjoy working out and lifting weights, and will usually push myself. I understand that many with disabilities do not have these interests, and I am set apart in many ways. I no longer want to be seen as a "disabled" person, but someone who has her own goals and dreams, and wants to accomplish those. It is frustrating and discouraging for me to have these honorable goals, and not be taken seriously for them.
In conclusion, I would like to say that society needs to be more educated to our needs and desires. We are human beings with human needs and feelings, just like everyone else. I have grown quite a backbone in the last several years, and I certainly hope that is paying off. Society needs to start "thinking outside the box." I do not romanticize about these careers. I have done extensive research and know they are nothing to take lightly, please understand that.
Thank you everyone for listening. It's time to start thinking outside the box.