San Antonio Independent Living Services
|  Home   |  Director   |  History   |  Programs   |  Services   |  News   |  Calendar & Events   |  Photo Gallery   |  Newsletters   |  ADA Library  |
|  Social Media   |  Board & Staff   |  Vendors   |  Sponsors   |  Volunteer   |  Donate   |  Resources   |  Contact  |   2010 Gala  |
11306 Sir Winston St. Bldg F   •   San Antonio, TX 78216   •   210.281.1878 V/TDD   •   210.281.1759 FAX

Success Stories 

SAILS Consumers, Among Our Many Disability Success Stories


Amado Vasquez Is Thankful For The Help

SAILS consumer Amado Vazquez of Bexar county has been struggling to get around after suffering from a stroke that left him using a wheelchair. Unable to use the left side of his body, he couldn’t get around without someone pushing his wheelchair or using the right foot. Mr. Vazquez also has Synodic nerve condition making it very painful to use his foot.

Mr. Vazquez requested a powerchair so he would be able to get around independently. He is now able to freely move around his home and uses the powerchair to get around the neighborhood too! He can go to his friends’ homes, the store and the restaurant down the street. Doctor appointments are much easier now as well as grocery shopping. Mr. Vazquez has no problem going outside and playing with his dogs. “I really appreciate the help”, Mr. Vazquez tells SAILS “I don’t know who would have helped me if you didn’t.”

Ida Miles Is Going Places With Her Scooter

independence. For her to do that she needed a scooter lift for her vehicle. Ms. Miles really enjoys volunteering and going to church. She also likes to be able to take care of herself by handling her own errands. Not being able to take her scooter around places made it almost impossible to do the things she loves. After getting her new lift she said, “Now I finally feel free!” She received great training on how to use the lift too. She can go out by herself and basically got her life back! Ms. Ida goes shopping independently now and doesn’t have to rely on others to bring her what she needs. She said that is the best feeling of all.

She is now out and about with her scooter. The church group she sees noticed right away and they were all excited for her. Volunteering for a program that serves meals to people is a passion for her. She is so glad to be back at it again!

Mr. Elijah Breault: Independent Living is Where I Want to Be

Mr. Breault was determined and focused on his goal to obtain his own housing. He was living with his grandmother while looking for an apartment. He also works a part-time job.

After he faced barriers to obtain an apartment. He came to SAILS for assistance with removing the barriers to independent living. ILS explained the options he had for Independent Living and obtaining affordable housing. Mr. Breault did not want to apply for low-income housing or for public housing. He wanted an apartment that was accessible and where the income requirement was not two and a half times the rent.

Mr. Breault knows first-hand how hard it is to live off a monthly check. He does not want to remain on SSI/SSDI. Mr. Breault said, in his apartment, “Here is where I want to be.” Congratulations to Mr. Breault who is at home living independently.


Truck Modified: Early Christmas Present For Bradley Koenning

Mr. Bradley Koenning recently received a vehicle modification that will help him to continue to live independently.

Mr. Koenning resides in the Victoria area but has many medical appointments and physical therapy in San Antonio. He recently had his Mom’s truck modified so that he is able to enter and exit the vehicle with ease. The seat extends outward and brings Bradley back inside, so that he can travel to meet his medical appointments and physical therapy sessions without a hitch.

Bradley and his Mom expressed gratitude for the seat and for SAILS making it possible for him to continue working towards his independent living goals. Bradley was happy that he received an “early Christmas present this year.”

Ms. Candace Rieger’s Life Changed with A New Powerchair

Consumer Ms. Candace Rieger was struggling getting around her house and going out with her manual wheelchair. She only has the use of one arm and to go outside would need someone to push her. She wanted a power wheelchair to be able to have more freedom with moving around and not have to rely on others.

Ms. Candace is very happy with her new powerchair. She has a basket on it where she can put any bag or items that she would normally need to hold onto. She is now able to go to the mailbox to get the mail and go on walks with her daughter and the dog. She doesn’t have any problems getting to use the backyard now and easily gets around stores. She can do all this without have to rely on others. “I think my husband likes it more than I do. He doesn’t have to push me around everywhere” she jokes.

“Without SAILS I wouldn’t have received my new power wheelchair. It’s a huge part in having more independence and my happiness”

Mr. Jefferson Is No Longer Stuck In A Box: I Can Hear Well Now With The New Hearing Aids

Mr. Jefferson Thomas was having a difficult time hearing. When having conversations, he couldn’t understand what was being said and was always asking people to repeat themselves. This caused him to draw back from socializing and would feel left out of group conversations. “You never know how much not being able to hear affects your life until you don’t have it” Mr. Thomas stated.

Mr. Thomas is now able to be a part of conversations and can embrace his social life once again. “I lost the capability to communicate” he goes on to say, “I am so grateful to be able to have a social life again.” Mr. Thomas can do a lot more now besides socializing. He can hear perfectly on his phone and doesn’t have to have his phone on full blast.

“I was stuck inside a box not being able to hear. After getting the hearing aids I am out of the box and free!”


Mr. Jesus Zamora: Happier Life With A New Prosthetic

Mr. Jesus Zamora lost his leg in a bus crash in 1989 and was struggling to get around with his 30-year-old prosthetic. It was leaving cuts and blisters in his leg making it painful to get around and causing him to walk off balance. His health was affected as he couldn’t take walks, something he really enjoys doing.

After getting a new prosthetic Mr. Zamora no longer gets blisters or has pain when he is walking. His balance has improved and he moves around much easier.

“I am grateful for everything the program has done for me!” He says he can take walks around the pond by his house everyday now. He is enjoying playing with his grandkids and helping his daughter around her house too.

Mr. Daniel Cantu: Gateway To Independent Living

Mr. Daniel Cantu is very pleased to have overcome homelessness. He had originally accomplished this goal, and was on the Mod Rehab program with SAHA. However due to failed inspections by the Owner/Landlord, Mr. Daniel Cantu, as a consumer, was left with 30 days to move because SAHA abated payment due to failed inspections. With such short notice Mr. Cantu had no place to go.

He had applied for the mainstream housing voucher through Alamo Area Council of Government. Mr. Cantu had 60 days to find an apartment or risked losing his voucher. During Mr. Cantu’s apartment search, he faced many financial barriers and other obstacles. He had to use self-advocacy to solve some of the barriers.

Finally, Mr. Cantu found a one-bedroom apartment and moved in. He was filled with joy and relief! Mr. Cantu accomplished two goals. One was obtaining affordable housing and the other was learning self-advocacy. During my follow up with Mr. Cantu he said, “SAILS is the Gateway to Independent Living.”

Ms. Lanelle Choate Is Out And About In Town, With Her New Hearing Aids

Ms. Lanelle Choate suffered from hearing loss due to working in a loud environment for many years. Later she was able to transfer over to teaching but not before it affected her hearing. Ms. Choate would have a hard time following along with religious ceremonies and classes. She also enjoyed teaching her friends and family’s children art classes. Ms. Choate didn’t feel in touch with what was going on around her and missed many phone calls because she couldn’t hear it ring.

After getting her hearing aids she feels much more comfortable on what is going on when she is around town. “It’s going wonderfully” she says, “these are fantastic hearing aids”. Talking on the phone is no problem at all for her. She can have conversations in the car with her daughter and friends. Ms. Choate is now back to enjoying art with the soft-spoken children and even helping with tutoring English, something she wasn’t able to do before. She can enjoy ceremonies and hear every word of the speakers as well !


Ms. Tammy Shrawder’s Life Changed with a New Ramp

Ms. Tammy Shrawder lives in Guadalupe county, Texas. She had hip replacements and a broken femur making it very painful for her to climb stairs. She also felt very unsafe and fell several times. She contacted SAILS to get assistance in having an accessible ramp. She recently received her new accessible ramp through SAILS program funded by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She is so very pleased and feels her life has really changed.
Ms. Shrawder says, “I have not fallen once since my new ramp was installed!” She is so happy that she has more independence too. She can easily go in and out of her home. She can bring in her own groceries and carry out her trash. She doesn’t need anyone’s help. Even better, she can go outside to her favorite spot and use her grill!
“It is just so wonderful” and “a huge success” she says. She praised SAILS and staff. Everyone at SAILS is so happy for Ms. Shrawder for her new independence.

Ms. Dorothy Montgomery Is Hearing Too Much Now

Ms. Dorothy Montgomery of Bexar county has had many struggles with her hearing in the past. She contacted SAILS for assistance in obtaining hearing aids. She was so pleased when she received them. Before she received her new hearing aids she had so much trouble communicating with everyone around her.

Ms. Montgomery doesn’t have any hearing issues now. She can hear her television and hear conversations over the telephone, songs at church and more. In fact, her son tells people “I think she hears too much now!” SAILS is so happy for Ms. Montgomery since she has opened up a whole new world of hearing.

Consumer is Thankful for Devices That Assist Her with Independence

Mary Lou Guerra is a senior who resides in Gonzales county. She recently received assistance in obtaining hearing aids and a shower buddy. She told her IL Specialist, “I got my hearing aids on my birthday!” Ms. Guerra is so happy with her new lightweight and discreet hearing aids. She mentioned that “now I can lower the volume on my television and my neighbors don’t hear what I am watching anymore.”

Ms. Guerra also is very pleased with her new shower buddy equipment because she feels extra safe now when she is bathing. She is so thankful to San Antonio Independent Living Services (SAILS), staff and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission which funds the program to assist people like her. SAILS wishes Mary Lou Guerra much enjoyment out of life and new independence with her new hearing aids and shower buddy equipment.


Ms. Romona Salazar is Grateful, She can Hear and Feels Safer

SAILS consumer Romona Salazar lives in Val Verde county, Texas. She requested help with obtaining hearing aids.

Ms. Salazar had struggled for quite awhile with her poor hearing which affected her so much that she did not like to go out in public. She needed her daughter to go with her to appointments and help her communicate. She recently received her new hearing aids and can now go to appointments by herself. She happily says, “ I can talk to my doctors and other people in my community. I am very grateful for SAILS and this program”. She also feels much better and safer since she can hear what is going on all around

Audrey Crawford Has a More Independent Life with her New Hearing Aids

Audrey Crawford, a senior from Victoria county had a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face as she shared her story with her IL Specialist on her follow up interview after receiving her hearing aids from San Antonio Independent Living Services (SAILS) through a contract from Texas Health and Human Services.

Ms. Crawford told her IL Specialist that before she received her new hearing aids it was difficult to hear what people were saying, especially in group settings. She often had to ask people to repeat what they were saying. She adds, happily, that “I no longer have that problem. I can even hear the television and without having the volume turned up too high!” Ms. Crawford appreciates the fact that she can hear the outside noises such as sirens and planes because she never even knew they were there before.

Although Ms. Crawford had to wait quite awhile to receive her hearing aids, she says it was worth it because technology improved and she has a blue tooth in both hearing aids. She says, “without the assistance of SAILS and her IL Specialist she would never have been able to afford hearing aids.” SAILS is happy Ms. Crawford has more independence with her new hearing aids.

Consumer is Safe and More Independent

Ms. Galle is a single mother who has three children. She recently had an accident while trying to kill a spider. She fell from a second story balcony and suffered shattered heals, broken feet and a broken back. She was hospitalized for more than a month and then was in a rehabilitation home for additional four months.

When she returned home she continued to not only have medical setbacks but also struggled financially. Her relationship with her boyfriend turned abusive. She informed her IL Specialist, “I can’t take it anymore. I don’t know what to do.” Her IL Specialist at SAILS assisted her with securing a safe place that she could call her home. Together they located a church whose volunteers helped her pack, clean and obtain food. Ms. Galle is living more independently now and is on her way to healing both emotionally and physically. She is a strong woman who reached out to SAILS IL Specialist for help and is glad she did!


Consumer Sleeps Much Better Now with New mattress

Jorge Perez from Bexar county is a person with paraplegia. He was in great need of a low air loss mattress. He requested assistance from San Antonio Independent Living Services (SAILS). Mr. Perez had difficulty in the mornings with pain and stiffness due to his condition and his old mattress. He usually had to wait for someone to come help him get up from his bed. He also was very depressed about the situation and sometimes would just stay in bed all day.

Jorge Perez is very satisfied that he received his new low air loss mattress. He says. “it helps me have a more independent life.” He sleeps much better and can move around in the mornings with much less pain. And no more waiting for help to get out of bed! He told his IL Specialist, “if it wasn’t for SAILS helping me I would probably be in the hospital.” SAILS is so happy for him and that he is resting well at night.

Consumer Communicates and Feels Empowered Now

Ms. Cyndi Swint, a senior who resides in Lavaca county is very pleased with her new hearing aids and the new life changes. She recently received her hearing aids from San Antonio Independent Living Services (SAILS) through a contract from Texas Health and Human Services.

Ms. Swint places high value on her new compact, easy maintenance high tech rechargeable hearing aids. She shared with her IL Specialist, “what a relief to be able to communicate without the frustration of having people repeat themselves all the time, especially over the phone. It was awful misunderstanding directions and even medical related information.”

Ms. Swint is so happy that she can even hear when people knock on her front door. She says. “hearing my phone notification is no problem anymore either.” She is so grateful to SAILS as she says, “I absolutely could not have afforded hearing aids on my own. I can communicate much better now and really feel empowered!”

Consumer Enjoys Walking with New Prosthetic

Mr. Jack Stofa waited quite awhile to receive his prosthetic leg. He knew the process would not be quick and was always very hopeful that everything would work out. He knew that SAILS had limited funding for these durable medical items. He worked well with me to provide me all the necessary documents that I needed to gather for approval for his prosthetic leg. I am very pleased with Mr. Stofa’s progress and his understanding of the rules that SAILS has to follow from start to finish.

When I went to visit Mr. Stofa to conduct the final meeting he was so very happy with his prosthetic leg and said, “it was worth the wait!” He shared that before he received his prosthetic leg he was unable to get up and walk around for exercise. He couldn’t just walk down the street to visit a neighbor. He said he would have to hop with his walker. It was not the best situation at all.

It is a new day now! Mr. Stofa has been walking four to six days a week. He said, “I can get up and walk like everyone else with two legs and two feet.” He appreciates everyone at SAILS for their hard work and support. At the end of my visit, he mentioned he is just about ready the dance he promised he would do!


Ms. Perez Lives More Independently With Her New Visual Aids From SAILS

Ms. Perez was diagnosed with being legally blind. She contacts SAILS to get assistance with visual aids. Ms. Perez wanted to be able to take better care of herself by being able to read documents without having to wait for someone to help her. She also wanted to live more independently by being about see around her.

After getting her visual aids she has been able to live much more independently. “The visual aids have helped a lot” she said “it has been wonderful to get help with getting my visual aids” Ms. Perez went on saying that she would not have been able to afford them on her own and her insurance would not cover it.

When I conducted my final visit at her home, she had her handheld video magnifier sitting by her. She carries it with her, along with the other items, wherever she goes. “I always put it back in the case when I’m done” Ms. Perez said. She doesn’t want anything to happen to them.

She can see print with the handheld magnifier and doesn’t have to wait for anyone to read it to her. She can watch the TV now with the Monocular. When Ms. Perez goes out to restaurants, she can read the menu and not have to have someone read it to her! Ms. Perez is very happy with her new visual aids and grateful for the help from SAILS!

Doris Walker Hears Very Well Now With Her New Hearing Aids From SAILS

On February 19th afternoon, Doris Walker, an 83-year-old female consumer in Victoria County, came to SAILS-Victoria office for her follow up on hearing aids, success story and survey.

She gladly signed the publication permission form upon arrival, completed the survey, and interviewed for the success story. Ms. Walker, a very pleased consumer, conveys that she appreciates the assistance with getting hearing aids, and if not for this organization (SAILS) and Health and Human Services); being of limited income, she has no extra funds even to make payments for hearing aids.

Before she would be embarrassed, having to repeat things and asking what people said for her to understand. Family knows she can not hear them, but they would say, “You need to get hearing aids!” After the hearing aids were fitted, the TVs are not loud, she hears people knock at the door without any doorbell there, and she hears the landline phone ring in the other room. “I hear everything,” she states with a big smile.

SAILS is Pleased To Help a Senior Hear Again

When Ms. Lavera Jolene Johnson was referred to San Antonio Independent Living Services(SAILS) for hearing aid assistance she was already depressed because she could not hear well enough to communicate with family and friends. She even quit going to her church because she could not participate.

At first Ms. Johnson was disappointed on how long the process of obtaining hearing aids would take. SAILS staff explained that the program was funded by the Texas Health and Human Services and that there were limited funds available for hearing aids. Ms. Johnson was pleased after learning she would receive her hearing aids shortly after the holidays-and she did! She is hearing now and smiling!


Sam Wilson
Sam is finishing college

Sam Wilson is prone to anxiety attacks and depression, with life skill programs provided through San Antonio Independent Living Services he is motivated to venture from the security of his home to pursue activities in the city. With medical monitoring and staff encouragement, the case management services was also very beneficial for Sam to surpass his goal to loose 100 lbs.

He is on the way to fulfill his dream of finishing college!

Yolanda Michaud
Yolanda is A Successful Neonatal Nurse

Yolanda Michaud was a nurse who was struck with degenerative arthritis. She could not move, bend, sit, walk or drive without intense pain. After battling many obstacles and contacting Bruce Orey, SAILS Community Work Incentive Coordinator, Yolanda is now working as a nurse again. She works three 12-hour shifts each week in the neonatal intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital.

"Do what you are capable of and pace yourself! Most of all, love what you do!" Yolanda has proclaimed.


David Whitaker
David Finally "Fits In"

Most of David Whitaker's life has been one of confusion, struggles and strife to "fit in." He states, "I never really fit into the special education programs in the schools." David doesn't appear to be disabled. In fact, to look at him one would surmise that he is not a person who is disabled-but he is. David is a person with a mental disability that poses challenges and tests his abilities every single day.

The good news is that today, and for the past four years, David has a successful job providing janitorial services for SAILS. I guess he has finally found a place where he "fits in" just fine.