Eric Patrick Thomas is an ambassador The D-Man Foundation which runs a barrier
free music studio located in Berkley,MI.!
Eric Patrick Thomas, a young motivated, ambitious businessman, leads a busy
life. As well as the leading force behind “EZ Awareness By Design”,
specializing in graphic design, custom apparel, signage, and vinyl banners, he
is a public speaker, philanthropist, volunteer and advocate for the disabled.
His keen business sense began before the early age of ten when he started
renting his Nintendo video games in the neighborhood. Music has always been an
influence in Eric’s life from writing to recording his album with the Hip Hop
group “Mizcellaneous”. Appreciation and the love of music and photography
eventually led Eric to Lansing Community College where he pursued a degree in
photography and broadcasting after graduating from Clio High School in 1996.
A random shooting on the fateful night of September 20, 1997 changed Eric’s life
forever. A young man with dreams of a career in music or photography learned
that life is not always fair. Left paralyzed from the neck down by a bullet to
the C3 and C4 vertebrates; Eric spent several months on a ventilator with a halo
screwed to his head to support his neck fighting for his life. Upon being
released from the hospital Eric spent the next six months in rehabilitation at
Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado learning to cope with his new
circumstances. Doctors recommended an assisted living center after leaving the
hospital, but with the support of his family he made the transition from
rehabilitation to his mother’s and stepfather’s home. Thanks to the hard work
of his stepfather many changes and modifications were made to the home so that
Eric could navigate throughout the structure.
With the support of Disability Network, a self-determination living arrangement
(SDLA) was developed. Having a SDLA permitted Eric to hire his own staff and
set goals and dreams using the person centered plan process, allowing Eric to
live independently in his own environment.
Eric’s portfolio resonates with a vast variety of activities from public
speaking to managing his graphic design company. His list of charitable works
involve everything from Toys for Tots, Relay for Life, Coats For Kids, Food Bank
Of Eastern Michigan, American Heart Association, president for the Flint Film
Festival, co-founder of Wheels 4 Wheels, local leader for Michigan Partners for
Freedom and an ambassador for Danny’s Miracle Angel Network (D-Man).
Eric does not view his life as a burden but it’s an opportunity to help other
individuals with disabilities. Some of the most rewarding moments of his life
include testifying at both House and Senate hearings at the local, state, and
national level, for the advancement of care and rights for people with
disabilities. He believes in providing both financial means and access to
affordable health care.These things will allow disabled individuals to live
independently, and is a motivating factor thatpromotes his voice for those in
Eric is not content to simply let the world pass by. He is constantly planning
new opportunities that will enrich not only his life but those less fortunate.
Goodwill Industries has provided Eric with affordable space for his business EZ
Awareness By Design. With the support of Genesee Health System, supportive
employment, and a Self Determination Living Arrangement Eric is able to have his
own house, own his own business, and access to quality of care that provides him
with the independence to be responsible for his own destiny.
Eric Patrick Thomas
Owner of EZ Awareness By Design
4340 A Miller Road
Flint, MI 48507
Website for D-Man: mydman.org
Matt and I take the first hour to talk abou
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