A Life Insured

Chris Fuqua knows first-hand the importance of having a good life insurance and disability policy.
Chris was almost killed on May 27th, 2005 when he was assaulted in North Dakota while attending a wedding party. Chris was not drinking, but a fight broke out between several others, and Chris was hit without provocation from behind by an unidentified assailant. As a result Chris sustained a severe brain injury that left him in a coma.
Shortly after the assault Chris’s mother wrote:
Given Chris’ initial Glasgow Coma Scale of 4, statistics show that only 20% of patients emitted to an emergency room come out alive with his condition. Chris has survived the crisis phase. There are still many factors that can affect the morbidity of a person with Chris’s injury.
Chris’ first danger is Hypoxia or Anoxia (getting little or no oxygen) due to the very high pressure that built up in his brain between the time he was injured and the time his first surgery was performed. This time was about 7 hours. In this condition, the pressure in the brain can be higher or equal to the blood pressure, thus no or little oxygen flow to the brain. There are NO tests that can tell us if this condition has occurred.
Weeks after the initial accident Chris’s mother was told (by one of the staff in a North Dakota hospital) that she should send her son to a nursing home, and that he would likely spend the rest of his life in that type of setting. For three weeks Chris was in a coma, and needed a ventilator to breathe.
After recovering to the point that he could start therapies, Chris participated in inpatient rehab for many weeks in North Dakota, until be was healthy enough to go back home in Billings to live with his parents. That’s when Chris took the next step, quite literally as he was still using a wheelchair to get around. Chris first started rehab with the Headway Program brain injury recovery program in September, 2005. After four more months of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and counseling through Headway which is a service offered through Saint Vincent Healthcare in Billings, MT Chris built up his strength and coordination to walk again, and speak clearly.
But Chris’s journey didn’t stop there. Chris continued with outpatient therapies, and hard work at home improving his skills. The case manager with Headway worked with COR Enterprises to help Chris return to employment.
Now two years later Chris is not only walking and talking – he is selling. Chris knows first hand the importance of protecting oneself through having good insurance, and those customers who buy a policy from Chris quickly come to understand that Chris is not just in it for “the sale.” As a certified life insurance agent Chris had to pass an exhaustive 6 hour test covering all aspects of the health insurance industry, policies and state law regulations. Chris passed his examines a few months ago and is now working as an independent agent and can sell life insurance policies, long term disability insurance, long term care policies and final expense policies.
Chris can be reached at 698-5317.

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An Interview with Ron Tussing, Mayor of Billings, Montana

On March 17th, 2008 Vern Anderson, owner of AbilityNews had an interview with Ron Tussing, mayor of Billings, Montana. The staff of AbilityNews would like to thank Mr. Tussing and found him to be very approachable, honest and generous with his time.
What are some things that you have learned about being mayor that you did not expect when you took office?
Mayor Tussing responded by sharing that he was surprised about the time commitment that it took to be Mayor. “I thought that perhaps mayor Tooley was exaggerating when he told me, but he wasn’t.” Mayor Tussing went on to explain that being the mayor of Billings “is almost a full-time job” and just last week, he had 16 meetings. Mayor Tussing also shared that he was somewhat surprised about the number of lawsuits that have been brought against the city of Billings.
If you could go back and do something differently as mayor, what would that be if anything?
“I think that I would been more involved in the input of the process of monitoring lawsuits,” He went on to explain that the mayor position does “not have any real power.” But that he has been effective in appointing various committees “the way I get things done is through the citizens” he explained. Mr. Tussing also spoke about his involvement in the Homelessness Committee, and the good work community members are doing in this area.
What do you like about being Mayor?
“I have enjoyed working with the citizens of Billings mostly.” Mayor Tussing explained that he enjoyed “helping people and trying to solve problems.” It was during this part of the interview when mayor Tussing shared one of his guiding principles that “If you are going to do something – its important to do it right.” He also shared that he felt that it was important as mayor to “welcome folks to the business community” and that he enjoyed participating in event like the recent Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, and also in events like “ribbon cuttings” for new businesses. He felt that public displays of support by the mayor and other leaders were important in developing a community that was strong.
Are there some things about your police job that you have missed?
The change in job positions “was easier than I thought it would be.” Mr. Tussing explained that he did not miss his old job as much as one would think, as both jobs as police Chief and as mayor are “administrative in nature,” and both jobs at their core are about public service.
What would you tell the voter with a disability about why it is important to vote?
“If you want your voice to be heard” a person needs to vote so they “can have an impact.” It is important for the voter “learn about what the important issues are “ and to find out if those running for office will listen to what you have to say. Mayor Tussing also explained that it is important for elected officials to listen to what the disability community has to say, even if there might not be the finical resources to do certain things. The mayor stated that he had been involved in the past and enjoyed his time working with different community activities that involved people with disabilities including PLUK, and the Special Olympics.
On a related issue mayor Tussing felt that it would be important for the disability community to spotlight some if the issues around accessibility for people with disabilities, and has considered ways to get out the information to the general public. He spoke with Vern about this important issue, and offered several ideas and his support.
Recently you have announced that you were running for a seat on the state Public Service Commission. What are some reasons you have decided to make this change?
Mr. Tussing explained that there were several reasons he felt it was time to move on to something different, although he has enjoyed his service as mayor very much. He shared that he was interested in environmental issues, and felt that it is important to start thinking “long-term” about some of the challenges we face. Mr. Tussing stated “If we always do what we have always done we will always get the same result” and that he one can balance environmental issues and the economy and consider alternative energy sources that are out there. Another honest consideration in running for a different office is that the position of mayor pays about $800.00 per month, and financially it would be “hard to afford running for mayor again.”

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