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News | Oct. 21, 2015

DSCR recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month with inspirational program

By Leon W. Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Meet George Dennehy , an extremely gifted singer and musician. According to his website, he learned to play the cello at the age of eight and then taught himself to play the guitar, electric bass and basic piano. Dennehy has shared the stage with national acts like United, Jesus Culture, Colton Dixon, MercyMe, The Goo Goo Dolls and For King and Country.  

Dennehy was the guest speaker during the National Disability Employment Awareness Month program at the Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, Oct. 19. Defense Logistics Agency strongly believes that a more diverse workforce is a stronger workforce. According to DLA statistics, of the more than 3,500 people working for DLA Aviation across the country, 548 are individuals with disabilities.

Here’s one more fact you should know about Dennehy. He plays those instruments using his feet. You see, Dennehy was born without arms. “My disability is who I am,” said Dennehy. It’s a medical condition called Bilateral Upper Limb Deficiency.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,500 babies in the United States are born with upper limb reductions each year. “I don’t have any arms, but I am still blessed,” said Dennehy.  

Much to the delight of the packed crowd, Dennehy has a great sense of humor concerning his disability.  “Being born without arms, you can see it. All I have to do is wear long sleeves when it’s windy and my sleeves are flying in the wind, majestic and glorious like,” said Dennehy.

He also silenced the crowd with tales of being born in a small village in Romania.  “One of the things they believed over there was that when a baby was born imperfect or deformed, it was looked down upon. It was seen not only as this baby is disabled, but this baby is actually cursed. Since day one of my life, I was an outcast because I was disabled,” said Dennehy.

Because of this attitude, his biological parents placed him in an orphanage. “People always ask me, aren’t you mad, aren’t you upset at your family for giving you up? I tell them no because I realize that it was literally out of love,” said Dennehy who was adopted by an American family. “They saved my life.”

After battling bouts of depression, Dennehy said he made a decision in the ninth or tenth grade that changed his life forever. “I can’t let this disability stop me from living my life to the fullest because I only get one life,” he said.

Ever since that vow, Dennehy has proven through his actions and deeds that he truly is living life to the fullest. “In my own life, I have been living this idea of everything I’ve gone through, everything I still go through every single day, it’s all just building and shaping me into who I am right now.”

If Dennehy ever decides to give up his music career, being a motivational speaker is definitely not a difficult thing to imagine. “This curse everyone in Romania laid on me, God has been able to use as a blessing. Not only for me, but for other people who are going through the same stuff I have gone through in the past and still go through.” said Dennehy.