Stephen P. Hansler has served as the Executive Director or President of Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio (MAHO) since its inception. Under his leadership, we have provided fully accessible housing to hundreds of people with mobility disabilities. We have also taught the necessity for and principles of accessible housing to government officials, housing professionals, consumers, and case workers. This award honors Steve’s commitment to attaining independent living through accessible housing.
The 2017 Hansler Award has been awarded to Chris Garr!
At MAHO’s annual meeting on December 6, 2017, Steve Hansler presented the 2017 Hansler Award to Chris Garr. For the last several years, Chris has worked with MAHO staff on the ADA Cleveland coalition. Through his work at Youth Challenge, Chris has referred several young people to the Vistas Apartment Communities. All who know him speak of Chris’s commitment, passion, and outstanding sense of humor.
Youth Challenge (YC) brings together young people with physical disabilities and teen volunteers through adapted sports. Chris began volunteering at YC when he was 12 years old and now serves as Director of Program Services. He serves as co-chair of the ADA Cleveland executive committee, where he works diligently and enthusiastically to eliminate barriers and increase accessibility in Cleveland. Chris also co-teaches a course on Adapted Physical Education at Baldwin Wallace University.
When accepting the Hansler Award, Chris shared that his goal is to “make sure every person is living life to their potential.” It is clear that he goes above and beyond in his work, serving as coach, mentor, big brother, and teacher to the participants at YC. Perhaps more telling than his lengthy resume are the words shared by YC participant and Vistas tenant Sean Walker:
“I met Chris through Youth Challenge when he was a 12 year old volunteer and I was a 4 year old participant. I was one of his first partners and although my speech has never been easy to understand, from the very start Chris did everything he could to make sure he understood me.
Chris has brought many improvements to the programs at YC; one of which is a focus on what happens to people with disabilities after high school. His first step was to implement an internship so participants of YC could see what happens behind the scenes in how YC operates. As I’ve gotten to know him more over the years I’ve seen how Chris seems to pull the best out of every person he meets. I am so thankful he thought enough to take a chance on me and give me my first job in a professional setting.
Without Chris I would not have just celebrated two years of living independently in my own apartment in Pine Tree Vistas. He encouraged me and showed me I could do more than I thought. I can go to him with any problem and know I will get an honest opinion, even if it might be something I may not want to hear. To Chris, there are no disabilities when he looks at someone. He sees a person and a friend.”