Cal Appleby is a man of selfless action, who has helped many others overcome challenges that he himself also faced, is the winner of the 2013 Access Press Charlie Smith Award. Cal Appleby is this year’s honoree.
“My life’s purpose has been to work with people who may be marginalized by the rest of society,” said Appleby. If people are willing to come forward and take part in his classes and groups, Appleby said he is willing to help them better themselves. He sees himself as a catalyst in the lives of others.
For decades Appleby was part of a remarkable team that founded and shaped many programs for students with disabilities at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, at the University of Minnesota and beyond. The work of Appleby, and the late Vern Bloom and Wayne “Mo” Moldenhauer, had impacts throughout the region. The three will be recognized at the annual award banquet, set for November 1.
Bloom died in 2012 and Moldenhauer died in 2003.
Nominator Clarence Schadegg noted he also wants Appleby’s former coworkers and friends honored as well. “They were effective in changing the lives of many people, for the better.”
“What a remarkable trio,” said Access Press Executive Director Tim Benjamin. “Their work has helped so many people and we are pleased to present them with the 2013 Charlie Smith Award. They have a long legacy of service to Minnesotans with disabilities.”
“I am overjoyed and elated to be receiving this award, and to share it with my friends and colleagues, especially since the three of us worked together for so many years,” Appleby said. “I feel so honored that the work we did over the years is being recognized.”
“Working with them for so many years was the pinnacle of my career,” he added. He and Bloom collaborated for more than 50 years.
He and Moldenhauer developed a strong friendship after they had met while Moldenhauer was in prison. “He was a hard case but he was able to turn his life around and reach so many people,” Appleby said.
Appleby has been a chemical dependency treatment counselor since the 1970s and developed and led disability awareness and sociology classes and meditation groups. He began teaching at Augsburg College in the fall of 1969. He drew on his own recovery from alcohol addiction through yoga and meditation and helped many others do the same thing.
He started the Beverly White Community Project, an organization that has brought meditation and yoga to people facing challenging life conditions. Another of his projects at the University of Minnesota resulted in the Student Parent HELP Center, which helps single parents complete college degrees.
He has also been a pioneer in disability awareness at Augsburg, The classes and groups were open to all, brought much-needed positive change and awareness about disabilities to Augsburg students, faculty and staff. Classes were held at Augsburg’s campus and throughout Minnesota at facilities that including Travilla in Robbinsdale, the Beverly White Foundation, nursing homes, treatment centers and state men’s and women’s correctional facilities in Stillwater, Oak Park Heights, Sandstone, St. Cloud and Shakopee.
Augsburg officials are adding their congratulations. “As Cal, Wayne, and Vern were keenly aware, Augsburg College exists to provide quality education to individuals from diverse backgrounds and with an array of capacities,” said Ann Garvey, vice president of Student Affairs at Augsburg College. “When these men were at Augsburg, they saw that segments of our student population had unmet needs; they took action, and their influence continues to inform our work.”
“In the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and beyond, these men helped Augsburg faculty and staff build a stronger understanding of how students’ varying physical and learning abilities influence their success in our courses and learning environments. Today this attentiveness is built into our culture and our infrastructure, and that’s a tradition they started.”
Bloom led Augsburg College programs for decades, including the Continuing Education for Nontraditional Students (CENTS), Community Human Resources (CHR) and Augsburg’s College of the Third Age. He also taught sociology and social work classes for more than 25 years.
Moldenhauer had served time in prison and brought an awareness of the challenges prison inmates face.
He helped raise the funds necessary to establish a transportation program between Augsburg and Travilla. He founded the Deafness Education Advocacy Foundation (DEAF), the message relay system for deaf and hearing people. DEAF has grown considerably since it was started. Moldenhauer was also the administrator/fundraiser for the Northern Sign Theater, a theatrical program made up of people with hearing loss.
Moldenhauer also raised funds for the installation of ramps and elevators at Augsburg College for users of wheelchairs.
The three founded a unique model of support to people with disabilities, to transport students between Augsburg and Travilla for classes. Their work influenced the creation of Metro Mobility when state planners grasped the significance of their transportation model.
Today there are robust programs for students with disabilities at Augsburg College, thanks to these three men.
They helped guide generations of college students and inmates through the Augsburg College education process. They not only taught off and on-campus they also helped organize Open Doors, a conference to bring faith communities together to support people released from prison.
“People with disabilities have many allies, people who step up and do their part to make our lives a little better. Certainly, there are many people doing this kind of work who haven’t been recognized,” Schadegg said.
“Cal, Wayne and Vern were but three people who walked the talk. Many programs came about because of the work done by Cal, Wayne and Vern.” Appleby lives in St. Louis Park with his longtime partner, Laurie Savran. He also has an adult son.