This month, District 6900 honors Stone Mountain Past President Chris Brand as a Rotary Person of Action. Chris is the President of Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) - a non-profit organization that restores and provides durable medical equipment (DME) to people in need. For the past month, Chris and his team have been running non-stop in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
the wake of Harvey, FODAC sent a team to Houston to manage the logistics of a distribution center for local DME needs, aided by Rotary Clubs there who found donated warehouse space. Over 813,000 households
there requested assistance, many with special needs residents. “Many of those
with mobility impairments lost everything because of Harvey, and many were in shelters without the basic equipment necessary to function,” Chris told us.
“DME vendors have been very generous with donations of vital equipment such as
wheelchairs, hospital beds and shower benches. The challenge is to get the
equipment into the hands of those that need it.”
Here in Georgia, FODAC provided equipment for people evacuating Augusta, as well as needed equipment for individuals who have evacuated to Atlanta from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. And, the organization is sending equipment to Puerto Rico - and possibly to Mexico as well.
Chris and FODAC have years of experience working
large disasters, Over the past thirty
years, FODAC has become the leading nonprofit assisting with needs for DME both
domestically and internationally, offering the expertise to coordinate DME
resources for disasters in 17 states and several countries. Chris currently
serves on the National Task Force for Disaster Preparedness.
Chris has a lifetime of
experience in disability issues. While growing up in Atlanta, he
bonded with a close friend of the family who had Muscular Dystrophy. For
19 years, he watched the effects that the disease had on the human body of his
best friend, as well as on the family structure. After losing his friend, Chris
knew that his vocation would always be tied to this community whose challenges
he knew so well. This experience prompted him to work the MD telethons
and summer camps for many years. He worked at three different companies
doing accessibility modifications to vans and automobiles for the disabled then
became a rehabilitation specialist at the Gwinnett Medical Health System
working in-patient, out-patient and acute rehab.
Chris joined FODAC in 1993 as the donations manager, and in 1999 established the Vehicle Modification Program. Because of his work to develop new resources for donations as well as expand existing ones, Chris was promoted to executive director of FODAC in 2001 and then to president of the organization in 2003. During this period, he guided FODAC through a difficult growing period to become a national best practice program and the largest domestic distribution program of used Home Care Equipment.