Grateful for the Opportunity

Larry Word, CPO, FAAOP

It seems as though only a few months have passed since I began my tenure as ABC President but it’s been an entire year. Several Past Presidents warned me that the year would fly by and they were right. They also told me that it would be one of the most memorable years of my life and they were right again. There is a certain amount of recognition that comes with the position but I am more grateful for the experience gained and the lessons learned. Service on the board of directors and as President has been an excellent classroom.

When I was asked to write some questions for the orthotic associate’s exam twenty plus years ago, I had no thoughts of someday serving on the ABC Board of Directors or having the honor of serving as President. I did know that the credentials I had earned were important to me and that I would continue to volunteer when called upon.

2019 was a strategic planning year for ABC, so I was a little apprehensive about such an undertaking. But my worries were unnecessary, the process went smoothly because it was truly a team effort and as they say, many hands make light work. We had a lot of big changes this year. ABC changed its logo after 70 years and the hard work and thoughtfulness that went into the development of the new logo was evident in how well received it has been by our colleagues in the profession. In August, we administered our first ever combined orthotic and prosthetic written exam. 

Candidates were allowed to take the exam right after graduating from school and the results were positive. As proud as I am of the work that was accomplished throughout the year, I am equally as proud of the board’s continued focus on leadership development, ambassadorship and program improvement.

I want to thank Immediate Past President, Debbie Plescia, CPO, for setting a great example and being a mentor to me. I had the luxury of having two other Past Presidents serving on the board and I want to thank Eric Ramcharran, CPO and Chris Fairman, CPO for their advice and support. We are fortunate to have Rachel Friddle-Johnson, CPO, as our incoming president and I want to thank her for all of her help.

I have to say that at some point during the year I received a word of encouragement or appreciation from every single board member and even some former board members and for that, I am extremely grateful. I want to extend a special thank you to our Executive Director, Cathy Carter for her leadership and guidance—I certainly will miss our weekly calls. And, thank you to the entire ABC staff for their support.

I made a habit of starting each board conference call and meeting by thanking everyone for donating their time and talent to ABC, as I know just how precious our time is. I want to extend that same thank you to all ABC volunteers past and present. It is through their efforts and those of the talented ABC staff that we are able to fulfill the vision of Setting Standards, Improving Outcomes and Changing Lives.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as President of such a great organization. The future looks bright.

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