In honor of Hammer’s 100th anniversary and NER’s 50th anniversary, we have published Legacies, a special anniversary magazine, celebrating our history, the people we have supported, and those who have made our mission possible all these years. Here is one of the featured stories:
Bob Lockwood has influenced change for decades
Meet Bob Lockwood, parent, Board member, and lifelong advocate for people with disabilities. Bob and his wife fought for full inclusion in the community for their two daughters, Stacy and Dru. “We were told to turn them over to the state,” says Bob. “We fought that for a long time. In fact, we fought all the way along.”
Decades before the ADA was passed, the Lockwoods worked to get their daughters the support, education, and resources they needed to live full lives. In 1985, they opened one of the first group homes in Minnesota, and later joined the Northeast Residences family in 2016. Stacy passed away in 2021. Dru continues to share her rich life with her friends and staff at Hammer & NER.
I had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee with Bob and ask him for his advice for a new generation of advocates working to ensure people with disabilities have all the resources they need to live life to the fullest. At a pause in our conversation, I overheard two young women nearby talking about a child’s birthday party.
“She wants to invite them and their paras from school, so they can have help if they need it,” said one. “I told her she could invite them, but the paras probably can’t come because they are not working then.” “Maybe invite the moms?” suggested the friend. “Yeah, that’s what I suggested,” said the first mom. “I told her we can help, or the moms can help if they need extra support.”
I was deeply moved. I know in this world—where little girls imagine ways to support their friends with disabilities at their birthday parties—would not have been possible without Bob’s influence in our community and his tireless advocacy. His battle for education, inclusion, resources, housing, and staffing for people with disabilities is benefiting people with disabilities all over the state of Minnesota.
And his advice for us?
“Advocacy must be a top priority for all of us to keep getting the services we want for our loved ones,” Bob told me. “We focus on legislators—and we have to—but we need to include families, neighbors, friends, and the general public. Use social media, invite your legislators into your home, and be fully informed. Advocacy starts with me.”
Thank you, Bob. We admire your loving dedication to your daughters and your determined advocacy for all people with developmental disabilities. We are so happy you are part of our family, extended.
Mary Gaasch is Director of Advocacy & Community Relations. Mary first joined Hammer Residences in 1996 as a Direct Support Professional. Mary meets with key elected officials to advocate for the people we serve and the staff who support them.