Chicago-area athlete making strides with disability

Chicago-area athlete making strides with disability
January 13, 2008 12:53:32 PM PST
Some people with disabilities are known to be great problem solvers who really get the job done. A local sport store manager is one of them. He can accomplish anything with just one arm.Avid athlete Eric Rabbers, 30, has found his passion. As a manager of Fleet Feet Sports, he is able to combine his job and his love for running.

For the past two and one-half years, Eric Rabbers has worked for Fleet Feet

"Currently, I'm responsible for the Elmhurst store and all the operations and day-to-day business," he said.

Eric has been disabled since birth.

"I was born without a right arm, without a right forearm and hand. My father was in Vietnam and we think he was exposed to 'agent orange,'" Eric said.

Despite only having one arm, Eric has always been encouraged to do whatever he can.

"Growing up, I did have a prosthesis. I did work with the Shiners' Hospital. I ditched the prosthesis at about first grade-- when I started to write it just seem to get in the way. I never went back to it," said the athlete.

The only on the job challenge for Eric is fitting customers with running shoes.

" You know, there are certain instances where, sometimes, it good to adjust a customers' shoe, tighten it, tying their shoes, and obviously, I have some difficulty with that. So, I just ask a co-worker. There was actually a funny situation, the customer was in a sling and couldn't tie their shoes, and I'm sitting there like, 'Oh oh. We need some help,'" said Eric.

Fleet feet employee Mark Karwowski says Eric is fun to work with.

"He's a good guy. He's really, really fun to be around. He keeps everybody's spirits up," said Mark.

When Eric is not working, he's out running.