Dear AMBUCS Friends,

I am writing to let you know that, after a great deal of soul searching, I have agreed to accept another position and will be leaving my role as CEO of AMBUCS. Finding the words to say good-bye is difficult when your life has been so powerfully impacted by those you’re about to leave. I’ve struggled both in making this decision and in composing the letter announcing my departure. Oddly, my thoughts traveled back to the wise and wonderful words of Dr. Seuss. In them, I found the inspiration to properly say good-bye, and more importantly thank you.

“UNLESS someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, NOTHING is going to get better. It’s NOT.”

More than ever, our world needs people who care. As Ambucs, your actions don’t just change the lives of those who receive Amtrykes, ramps, and scholarships. They transform families and entire communities. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work Shoulders Together with you making the world a better place.

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

You may feel insignificant…just an Ambuc tightening a bolt, flipping a pancake, sawing a board, or putting a child’s name on a license plate. To each recipient of your kindness, you are so much more! You’re an answer to a prayer, a source of hope, and a reason to smile. Never forget that. How do I know you change lives? Because you’ve changed mine.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

From the tiny newborn with cerebral palsy in the neonatal intensive care unit with her anxious mother supported by an occupational therapist who once received an AMBUCS scholarship, to the brave toddler with spina bifida excitedly climbing on his Amtryke, to the aging Veteran ramp recipient leaving his home for the first time in months…they all matter to you. As a parent of children with special needs – and very special abilities – I cannot thank you enough for recognizing the unique worth of those you serve.

“Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”

I hope to be remembered as a small nut – well, maybe bolt sounds better 😉 – in the framework of the bridge that spanned from our first century of service to the next. A bridge that shuddered and swayed but survived a global pandemic and delivered AMBUCS to a brighter future. It’s been an honor to serve with you, especially in the tough times.

“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose!”

When I arrived at AMBUCS over six years ago, I quickly identified my likely successor. This servant leader possesses the rare blend of knowledge, skill, and passion required to steer a nonprofit organization. She not only has “brains in her head and feet in her shoes,” she also has AMBUCS in her heart. It brings me great joy that the National AMBUCS Board of Directors has endorsed current Chief Operations Officer Jessica Wall as your next CEO. I will be handing the reigns over officially in early April, but I will continue to work with Jessica and be available over the next four months during the leadership transition.

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way. Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”

Of course, AMBUCS will succeed! It’s no accident the organization has been around over 100 years. Your passion for the mission of inspiring mobility and independence will continue to fuel everything you do. Plus, you’ll be supported by an incredibly strong and talented AMBUCS Resource Center team. It will be so exciting to see where Jessica, Jake, Tiffany, Janice, Maria, Kayla, and Tony help you go. Like you, they are Ambucs through and through!

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Easier said than done. I’ve definitely shed some tears as I’ve spoken with some of you about my departure. Still, thanks to you, I leave here with a smile on my face!

Shoulders Together,

Jay Laurens
National AMBUCS CEO

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