Among the motivating factors driving life choices are two that often go hand in hand: inspiration and perspective. People challenged by physical or mental disabilities inspire us by their achievements and provide perspective, as in, “Hey, if you can accomplish all that, maybe I should drop the excuses and try working harder.” In the world of sports, I think of major-league pitcher Jim Abbott, born with no right hand, but who played the field well and pitched a no-hitter, and Tom Dempsey, born with no fingers on his right hand and no toes on his right foot, but became a record-setting kicker in the NFL.
While able-bodied folks can find all sorts of reasons not to attempt something, people like Dempsey and Abbott say, “Why can’t I?” Paradoxically, many see them as handicapped, but they embrace normalcy. And in the North Country, one of the finest examples of that is Joseph Bromley of Ogdensburg.
Bromley was born in October 1908, the sixth child of James and Emma Bromley. When he was just two and a half years old, Joseph was involved in a horrific accident. While left briefly unattended by a sibling, Joe wandered into the road and was struck by an oncoming streetcar. His right arm was severed below the elbow, and his crushed right leg had to be amputated below the knee. » Continue Reading.