We received the sad news that Ralph Braun passed away last Friday, February 8. Braun was founder and CEO of BraunAbility, a company that makes a variety of mobility equipment.
The business began when Braun built the first motorized scooter, and expanded as he developed adaptive equipment for motor vehicles. From those beginnings, the Braun Corporation has become an 800-employee operation. Based in Winamac, it is the largest manufacturer of ramps, lifts, and similar equipment in the world (http://www.braunability.com/).
For his work, Braun was honored as one of fourteen “Champions of Change” at a White House ceremony in 2012. He was also inducted into the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association Hall of Fame last year.
As we noted at that time, Braun’s efforts played a major role in creating social changes that have resulted in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the increasing acceptance of people with disabilities as fully-functioning members of society. It’s quite a change from the days of the past ago when anyone with a physical disability, such as this writer, was met with skepticism, considered unable to learn and shuffled off to “special” classes or continually tested and had to start over proving themselves each day. Those of us who live with disabilities are grateful for the spirit of Braun and others who work for increased access and mobility every day. As a living legacy, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Ralph Braun Foundation (http://ralphbraunfoundation.org/), which provides financial assistance for mobility equipment.