When Joe Ehman became disabled in 1995, (He was diagnosed with a form of Muscular Dystrophy and acquired a spinal cord injury.) he’d read some terrible things Mouth Magazine had written about Jerry Lewis. He was the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “Person of the Year.”
Joe went to call on Mouth’s editor to straighten her out. She dumped a couple reams of information about the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) into Joe’s lap and said “Here. See what you think.” He did.
When he returned to his local MDA’s office and asked a few pointed questions, they stripped Joe of his award. That’s when he came to work at Mouth as a reporter. His first published article resulted in an FBI Medicaid fraud investigation.
Joe made ADAPT’s acquaintance in 1995 when he attended his first national ADAPT action in Lansing, Michigan. Shortly thereafter, he started an Empire State ADAPT chapter and organized the national media for ADAPT. Through Joe’s involvement with ADAPT, he moved from Rochester, New York to Denver, Colorado in 1997 to work at the Disability Center for Independent Living (DCIL).
In 1999, Atlantis Community hired Joe to direct their Rental Housing Assistance Modification Program (RHAMP). Atlantis is home to ADAPT.
Today, Joe directs RHAMP, is an ADAPT organizer, serves as a board member to three Colorado based non-profit organizations: Board President of Colorado Ability Associates, Secretary/Treasurer of GIVES Foundation, and a Board Member of Freedom by Design. He also provides consultation regarding disability matters to Colorado's Department of Public Health and the Environments.
Joe’s other activities include membership in GRUPO Vida (a grass-roots organization of Latino/a people with disabilities), Vice President of the Mato Wakpa Wacipi (Bear Creek Powwow) Committee, and a disability (ADA and 504) consultant to the Oglala Lakota Nation Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He continues to write for Mouth Magazine, freelances for Disability Life, and organizes the Freedom Clearing House.