FEBRUArY 2014 - Joshua Basile’s recent letter to the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) began with: “The Purpose of this letter is to thank [DORS] for helping me get to where I am today. Without the support and encouragement of DORS and my case manager, Bridget Goines, my employment journey would likely not have the same ending. When I was first injured in 2004 my future looked bleak. In just five weeks I went from a 185 pound athlete to a 135 pound quadriplegic… Employment did not seem possible…”
Employment was possible; today Joshua is an attorney with the law firm of Jack H. Olender & Associates, PC. The path to this success began with his appointment with Ms. Goines and her asking him, “what are your strengths?” Joshua answered, “my mind and my voice.” Ms. Goines said “We can work with that.”
Soon he was taking public speaking classes at Montgomery College and then moving on to majoring in communications at University of Maryland College Park. During this time DORS helped with his education and provided assistive technology to help Joshua be successful at school and to accommodate his needs at home.
College helped Joshua to feel that “my voice was a force for change” and “I began to focus on all that I could do rather than dwell on what I could not.” He wanted to use his voice and thought law school should be his next step. With DORS continued assistance, Joshua enrolled in the David A. Clarke School of Law full-time, and graduated magna cum laude in 2013.
During law school Joshua interned for the Olender firm and after graduation he received a call from Mr. Olender offering him an Associateship position. “I thought I was going to jump out of my wheelchair with happiness!”
December 17, 2013, Joshua was sworn in at the Court of Appeals and officially became an attorney. In addition to his work assisting with medical malpractice cases, Joshua has a spinal cord injury mentoring website: SPINALpedia.com and he is an active advocate for others who have spinal cord injuries through his foundation Determined2Heal.org.
“DORS gave me the tools and opportunities to pursue my goal…without this support and encouragement, I would not be where I am today. Thank you DORS and Bridget Goines for believing in me!”