Richard J. Schaefer holds it like the founder of the scout movement: He wants to leave the world a bit better than he found it. How this philosophy of life affects his private and disability-political work, the Austrian tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Richard J. Schaefer Age: 57 City: Linz/Austria Occupation: invalidity pensioner Impairment: I have been a complete paraplegic since 2005 BY OTHER
Richard J. Schaefer: A lot, but most of all that I can laugh about myself again and again.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Richard J. Schaefer: Skydiving! I didn't dare to do it before. After the accident it took me a very long time physically to "get back on track". Now I don't dare, because I don't want to expect a tandem jumper to do that – due to the huge amount of problems and consequences of surgery!
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Richard J. Schaefer: Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell – the founder and father of the scout and girl scout movement! A very simple sentence from him: "Leave the world a bit better than you found it". – That is already my life philosophy for a three-quarter of my life.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled. What would you do first?
Richard J. Schaefer: The deletion of the new austerity measures of the Austrian government and in return the expansion of support for people with disabilities! Secondly, the maintenance and expansion of affordable accessible housing!
Richard J. Schaefer is a pensioner but not inactive. He has the first Austrian Counselling, Competence and Therapy Centre for people with spinal paralysis, their partners and caring relatives (outside rehabilitation centres).
What is especially near and dear to you?
Richard J. Schaefer: A respectful and appreciative coexistence of all people in our society.
I would like to be ...
Richard J. Schaefer: ...a person who – with the exception of the age restrictions that Mother Nature is accustomed to increasing – is simply always healthy and has a very bright head!
Which question would you like answered the most?
Richard J. Schaefer: A reasonable and for me logically understandable answer to the question why it has to be throughout Europe that people with disabilities have to fight more for their self-determined existence/life again.
What I finally want to say...
Richard J. Schaefer: "Beyond right and wrong is a place. There we meet." (Dschalâl-ed-dîn Rumî)