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Wisconsin Farmer Ronald Kusiak Honored With 2008 Jacobson Memorial Award

Award recognizes entrepreneurial achievement by a person with a disability

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Ronald Kusiak, a family farmer from Mosinee, Wis., is the recipient of the 2008 Judd Jacobson Memorial Award. Established in 1992, the Jacobson Award, administered by Courage Center, recognizes the pursuit or achievement in a business entrepreneurial endeavor by a person with a physical disability or sensory impairment.

Kusiak, 48, is a paraplegic as the result of a fall from a tree stand while bear hunting in September 2007. The eldest son in a family of six, Kusiak took over complete operation of his family's dairy farm when he was just 16. For more than 30 years, he built an impressive dairy herd and, as with most family farmers, rarely took a day off, until his injury.

Kusiak was nominated for the award by his daughter Megan, who describes her father as a man full of 'life, love and compassion.' "His life has taken a drastic change," said Megan. "He has been taken from the life he was accustomed to for 47 years, to a completely different world. For most people, especially for a farmer, this would be the worst thing possible. But, my dad is not like most people. In our hearts we know, and he knows, that he can do it. He can farm and continue the life he's always known. He just needs a do things a bit differently. "

"I am so honored to receive the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award," said Kusiak. "There are so many things that I would like to change on my farm to make it more accessible to me -- like lowering light switches; purchasing a power lift to get into my farming equipment; buying power carts to help me spread cattle feed myself; add hand controls to a tractor so I can drive it; widen entry ways in my barn for my wheelchair to fit through... the list goes on and on. I've set a lot of goals set for myself, and this award is a huge jumpstart to help me reach them."

"The Jacobson selection committee was inspired by Ron's story. Each year, we look for someone who exemplifies the 'spirit' of my late husband, Judd, and for us, this year, that person was Ron Kusiak," said Barbara Jacobson.

Kusiak will receive his award on Tuesday, Nov. 11, during a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Courage Center Golden Valley.

About the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award

The Judd Jacobson Memorial Award is named for the late Minnesota business leader who became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident. The $5,000 cash award is administered by Courage Center, with funds made possible by Daniel J. Gainey, a lifelong friend of Jacobson.

About Courage Center

Courage Center is a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. At Courage Center, we specialize in treating brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism, and disabilities experienced since birth. Founded in 1928, Minneapolis-based Courage Center offers advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. For more information visit

Contact: Sue Warner, Communications Manager

Courage Center, 763-520-0263

SOURCE Courage Center
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