January 3, 2012
Accessibility Pioneers: Walter Callow
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA - The Walter Callow Wheelchair Bus is a non-profit, non-sectarian corporation founded in 1948. Although Walter Callow was left paralyzed and blind after a flight training crash in 1917, he remained active in life and business. From his bedside at Camp Hill Military Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia he directed his staff who worked in an adjoining suite of offices. During World War II he helped raise money in support of the troops. It was because of this work and his own experience as a disabled veteran that he recognized a need for the disabled to get out of institutions, and participate more fully in the life of the community. Beginning in 1945, he supervised the conversion of a bus for those in wheelchairs and eventually established a non-profit corporation to organize and perpetuate it's service. It continues to this day providing group recreational transportation for persons with disabilities in the Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding area. Speaking at Walter Callow's funeral in 1958, Camp Hill's chaplain noted: "Walter Callow must have known many dark hours, but he learned that it is not the darkness that matters, but what the darkness does to one." Such a life is an example of not only what one can do for the disabled, but what the disabled can give to society.