This community never ceases to amaze me - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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This community never ceases to amaze me

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Kelly Mixer is managing editor at that Ahwatukee Foothills News. Reach her at (480) 898-7913 or

Posted: Monday, June 20, 2011 1:00 pm

Arizona Disabled Sports, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing adaptive sports and recreation programs to individuals with all types of disability, recently got a taste of how generous our Ahwatukee community is when they received help from a local restaurant.

John Holmes, new owner of the Carrabba's off Interstate 10 and Ray Road, was generous enough to donate 200 meals that were served last week at Arizona Disabled Sports' End of Season Awards Celebration.

"The athletes that participate in the adaptive sports and recreation programs provided by Arizona Disabled Sports travel from all across the state of Arizona, which is one reason why it is important to have the support from communities like Ahwatukee," said Lane Jeppesen, executive director of Arizona Disabled Sports. "Carrabba's donation to the organization saved the non-profit over $1,000, which can now be used to support the programs with uniforms and adaptive equipment. As a small non-profit organization in the Valley, we need support from the community for donations and volunteers so that we can continue to provide quality adaptive sports and recreation programs for people with disabilities."

Turns out Holmes, who just purchased a house in The Foothills neighborhood of Ahwatukee and has been manager of the local Carrabba's since last August, has a family member with spina bifida and was touched by what Arizona Disabled Sports represents.

"This organization helps a lot of people and my brother has spina bifida so I wanted to help out," Holmes told me on Thursday. I asked him how much the donation set the restaurant back and he said about $3,000 since each meal costs approximately $15. Now that's a generous way to pick up the tab.

In another local twist to this story, Arizona Disabled Sports has two athletes with physical disabilities from Desert Vista High School who participate and compete in the adaptive programs and are also involved with the regular track and swim programs at the high school.

One athlete, Stephen Binning, was presented with his athletic letter from Desert Vista for his participation in the adaptive programs at the June 10 awards event (although he was unable to attend the ceremony due to a previously scheduled engagement).

This 16-year-old is amazing and was on the go again this week participating in the National Wheelchair Track and Field Championships in Miami.

His father, Tim Binning, said the Arizona Disabled Sports program has been a wonderful experience for his son and that he has been participating in the organization's events for the past 10 years.

"My wife, Allison, stumbled upon (Arizona Disabled Sports) and found out more on what they were about and was able to get Stephen involved," Binning said. "It's been a great outlet for him because even though he uses a wheelchair he loves to participate in sports. Fortunately, we live in an area that offers such a program because not all towns do."

So here is a local non-profit doing good while benefiting from a local resident/businessman who wanted to help and it's going back to a local high school student who is doing remarkable things with his life. Wow!

It's been more than five years since I've been with this newspaper and it still amazes me how the residents and businesses of Ahwatukee constantly come to the aid of their neighbors in need and donate so much of their time and resources to making this community a better place to live and work.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7913 or

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