Eagle Scout – The rank of Eagle is the highest award a boy can earn in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Less than 4% of boys who enter Boy Scouts achieve this rank. The significance of this award is two-fold. First, Tyler was able to earn the rank of Eagle by completing all the requirements as outlined by the BSA. His disabilities were not an excuse to not complete requirements. Tyler always embraced his disabilities wholeheartedly. He joined the very few who achieve the rank of Eagle. Second, and more importantly to Tyler, he accomplished this goal by being part of a “typical” troop. He went through Scouting with his friends and neighbors … the same ones he went through school with from preschool to graduation. Tyler would never support the concept of a “special” troop for “special” kids with disabilities. We all are who we are and should be a part of the whole community, not a separate community. Tyler played this part well. There was never any question from fellow Scouts that Tyler would be participating in whatever activity was underway. It was a given … as it should be.
Tyler would want people to view his Scouting journey not so much for what he accomplished, but for the way in which he did it … with everyone else.
Silver ADDY Award – ADDY Awards are presented by the American Advertising Federation. (AAF). This award was for the I’m Tyler … don’t be surprised” video Tyler created in 2007 as part of his Eagle Scout project for Boy Scouts. You can read more about it in the Video portion of this website. Why did Tyler receive an award for his video from an advertising organization? The generous folks at ME&V Advertising in Cedar Falls, Iowa (now known as AMPERAGE) donated time and expertise to the videography of Tyler’s video. They entered the video in a MAC ADDY Awards competition. The video earned a Silver Addy in the Audio/Visual Public Service category.
The American Advertising Awards, playfully referred to as the ADDY Awards, is the largest and most representative award ceremony in the advertising industry. The mission of the award ceremony is to recognize and reward the creative spirit and the inspired nature of those in advertising. According to the AAF website, the AAF protects and promotes the well being of advertising … through a nationally coordinated, grass roots network. There are over 40,000 entries in local competitions each year.
We will always be grateful to those generous hearts at ME&V who helped Tyler begin his around-the-world journey educating people who care about Ability Awareness through his video. Over a million people have viewed I’m Tyler … don’t be surprised and the number is growing everyday.
Tyler was honored to receive The Bill Sackter Award from the ARC of the Cedar Valley for his work advocating for folks with disabilities and for spreading the message of Ability Awareness. To understand the significance of the award, we must first understand who Bill Sackter was. Here’s a little bit about Bill Sackter as related in Wikipedia.
William Sackter (1913-1983) was an American man with an intellectual disability whose fame as the subject of two television movies and a feature-length documentary helped change national attitudes on persons with disabilities.
Early life – Bill Sackter was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1913, the son of Sam and Mary Sackter, Russian Jewish immigrants who ran a grocery store. When Sackter was 7 years old, his father died from complications of the Spanish Flu. It was 1920, and Bill was having difficulty learning in school, and after taking a mandatory intelligence test, he was classified as “subnormal”. The State of Minnesota determined that he would be a “burden on society” so he was placed in the Faribault State School for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic. Sackter remained there for 44 years, never again seeing his mother or two older sisters, Sarah and Alice. He was diagnosed as intellectually disabled, although diagnoses performed decades later would prove his intelligence was near normal. He was never taught to read or write or even how to use a telephone.
Later life – In 1964, when new light was being shed on the treatment of the mentally ill and disabled, Sackter was moved to a halfway house and worked odd jobs to support himself. He eventually became a handyman at the Minikahda Club, where filmmaker Barry Morrow and his wife, Bev, befriended him. Morrow began slowly to make life a bit more comfortable for Bill, getting him new dentures and becoming his friend. Morrow became his guardian, and when he took a post at the University of Iowa, Sackter followed him to Iowa City, and became the sole proprietor of Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop on the campus, in which he excelled.
Recognition – Sackter was named Handicapped Iowan of the Year in 1976, attending a ceremony in Washington, D.C. President Jimmy Carter gave him special recognition in 1979.
Movie depictions – Sackter’s story was related in a television movie entitled “Bill”, first broadcast in December 1981. This starred Mickey Rooney in the title role. Rooney won a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award. The movie also won an Emmy as Outstanding Drama Special. A sequel “Bill: On His Own”, with Helen Hunt, was released in 1983.
Tyler Student Achievement Award – Tyler was the first recipient of his namesake Tyler Student Achievement Award in 2007. This award was created and is presented each year by the Iowa Council of Administrators of Special Education (Iowa CASE). The award reads, “In recognition of significant contributions to ability awareness of students with disabilities”. CASE is an international organization that lists the following Core Values on its website:
CASE Core Values:
VISIONARY LEADERSHIP: CASE is committed to innovative, forward-thinking and dedicated to excellence.
INCLUSIONARY PRACTICES: CASE is committed to the highest standards of access, equity, belonging, and inclusion.
ENGAGEMENT: CASE is committed to intentional partnerships with our colleagues in preK-12 education, university, corporate, non-profit, and public communities.
INTEGRITY: CASE is committed to fostering the values of honesty, fairness, and professional and scholarly ethics.
And from the Iowa CASE website:
The Iowa Council of Administrators of Special Education has presented the Tyler Greene Award annually since 2007. Tyler was the first recipient of this award. The Tyler Greene Award is given to a high school senior or first year graduate who has been identified as an individual with a disability who has done something significant in their life for themselves or others.
The scholarship recipients from 2022 and 2023 are pictured below and are, from left to right: Rachael, Bradon, Olivia, Parker, and Johanna
Tyler was humbled and flattered to receive the national Yes, I Can award from the Council for Exceptional Children. The annual convention was held in Boston, Massachusetts. Only two students are picked nationally for each Yes, I Can award. Several members of the West High School staff and the Iowa Council of Administrators Special Education (CASE) were in attendance.
CEC is proud to recognize children and youth with exceptionalities who have demonstrated their determination and achievements in multiple ways. Presented each year at the CEC Convention & Expo, the Yes I Can Awards recognize 12 outstanding students with exceptionalities in six categories: Academics, Arts, School & Community Activities, Self-Advocacy, Technology, and Transition.
The Yes, I Can Self-Advocacy Award recognizes students and youth with exceptionalities who have demonstrated achievement that far exceeds expectations in assuming practical responsibility for oneself, using knowledge of legal rights, advancing one’s goals, or advocating for one’s needs, such as effectively obtaining appropriate accommodations for oneself or others.
The Yes I Can Awards Ceremony is the highlight of every CEC Convention & Expo. Recipients and their families, with travel stipends from CEC, will join convention attendees as they are honored.
Senator Ted Kennedy was in attendance for the ceremony. He was a guest speaker and received an honorary Yes, I Can award for his advocacy work for kids with disabilities. Each of the twelve award recipients received an autographed copy of his newest book.