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Outdoor Recreation Staff Empowers Paralyzed Child

Employees of the Week: Parks and Recreation’s Outdoor Recreation Staff

October 21, 2016

Albuquerque, NM- Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized the Outdoor Recreation Staff from the Department of Parks and Recreation, comprised of Dillon Byrne, Nikole Castillo, Cameron Gibbs, and Valerie Gibbs for creating a memorable experience for a child a disability.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, the Department of Parks and Recreation brought the City’s climbing wall to North Star Elementary School for students to enjoy. One student in attendance, Kyle Dodd, who is paralyzed from the waist down was not immediately able to enjoy the climb like his classmates. Dodd’s teacher asked the Outdoor Recreation Staff if there was any way the child could join in and try to climb the wall like his classmates.

The Parks and Rec staff put a harness on Dodd and clipped him into the automatic belay system. One Parks attendant, Dillon Byrne, stood at the bottom of the wall as crew member Cameron Gibbs clipped in next to the child. Byrne lifted Dodd up over his head as high as he could reach. Gibbs asked the boy to hold onto the rocks and climbed next to him while pulling him up the wall by the rope. Dodd’s classmates cheered him on while the pair made their way up to the top of the wall. Once they reached the top, Gibbs counted to three and pulled the boy back and off of the wall which triggered the automatic belay system to bring him down slowly where Byrne, Valerie Gibbs, and Castillo were waiting to catch him and lower him to the mat.

The Outdoor Recreation Staff’s ability to involve this boy in a physical activity enabled him to participate in an afternoon of fun with his classmates and provided the boy with an experience he will not soon forget. It is due to the Outdoor Recreation Staff team’s inclusive and caring actions that they were recognized as this week’s City of Albuquerque Employees of the Week.