By: Meaghan Corson
There's a new place in town helping make life a little easier for folks with disabilities. The center is named after Jim O'Rourke, who became a quadriplegic after a construction accident. After losing Jim, his family wanted to open a place to help others in his honor.
It's called Jim's place, St. Ambrose University's newest addition. It's a tech house, equipped with the latest technology that makes tasks you and I might take for granted a whole lot easier for those with a disability.
"If you can really only see bright lights, you can still see the utensils, still see the plates because of the way we're lighting it from the bottom. if an individual can't walk, we actually have lifts that can bring them up, take them to the shower, take them to the toilet," explained Professor Jon Turnquist.
The house helps those recovering from a life–changing event find a way to be independent again. Turnquist is the director of the tech house and says its all a reality now for the Quad Cities, but not too long ago it was only a dream for Jim's family.
"They realized that we have some of the same technology here that they wished they would have had. and they're helping us share this technology with the world," said Turnquist.
"We experienced intimately somebody having a tremendous disability and living life to his fullest even with that disability," said Joe O'Rourke.
O'Rourke was one of Jim's brothers and said despite the tragic accident his brother never gave up.
"You hear the saying make lemonade out of lemons. He's a true example of that by his never, never give up spirit that he's always had," explained O'Rourke.
The spirit of Jim lives on as his family carries out his legacy through Jim's place. This house is the first of its kind in the quad cities offering this type of technology. The O'Rourke family funded most of the project.