2012 Judd Jacobson Memorial Award winner

Aaron Cross

Flying Wheels Travel founder Judd Jacobson along with his wife Barbara, began Flying Wheels Travel in 1970. When Judd died, a foundation was established in his memory to provide grants to people with physical disabilities who share Judd’s entrepreneurial spirit. This year’s recipient is Aaron Cross, owner of Motivation on Wheels.

Cross was 15 years old when he careened into the back of a support vehicle at 38 m.p.h. during a bike race leaving him with quadriplegia. As an avid athlete with dreams of Olympic glory, Aaron refused to let his diagnosis stop him and went on to become a three-time member of the U.S. Paralympics archery team and the 2012 alternate.

He has harnessed this drive to develop his own business, Motivation on Wheels, which specializes in providing motivational speaking and services for people with any type of ability, allowing them to remain independent, in their home and in the community.

A large part of Cross’ business revolves around building solid life skills. Aaron meets one-on-one with clients to teach financial management, build social skills, job skills and even learn to drive. Each client is different and he helps each of them grow the skills necessary for independent living.

Cross also uses his knowledge and experience with disability to assess how both high- and low-tech equipment might assist a client with everyday tasks such as opening a jar with a medical tool or using voice-operated software to run a computer.

Finally, Aaron shares his life experience and story with groups of all ages throughout the country. His message is designed to encourage a positive attitude and demonstrate the possibility of overcoming obstacles in your life and achieving your goals.

As the 2012 recipient of the Judd Jacobson award, he plans to use the award money to earn two accreditations, which will expand his client base and recognize his talents in the eyes of the State of Minnesota.

Said one nominee, “His ability to connect with people no matter what situation, ability or where they are in life is greater than anyone I’ve ever met.”

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Travel Photos: See the Gallery »

Wool making demonstration at the Amaru community
Leaning about the Quetchua culture
Rose garden in Bamberg
Capuchin monkey eating a grape.
Jewel of the Seas


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