Posted on February 4, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 30 of 34 in the series Craig

TBI Fund Act: Craig Part Thirty

Craig discusses his part in being a brain injury leader and what he has achieved as far as the TBI fundAct and what it is all about.

Talk to me about the legislative the actions that you have achieved.

Well the first one, and again Tommy Manning, I give him full credit.  Matter of fact it’s named the Tommy Manning Act.   He went, he was persistent.  He got a legislator to listen and it was a matter of just getting enough people to write and call.  If you get a thousand people visiting a legislator and writing letters, that’s quite a power of the state.

Who’s Tommy?

Tommy is a survivor over the Seattle area, Tacoma.  He got so tired of being put in West State Hospital (which is a mental facility) because of his brain injury.  So he kept telling Senator Fein, what are you going to do about brain injury, every second.  I’m sure he got tired of seeing Tommy out there. He was the most persistent man you’ll ever meet.

So Tommy and Senator Fein actually became friends over a period of time.  You’re in his office, he probably felt like he was an employee.  So he actually sat down long enough to listen to Tommy and to understand what he went through.

Tommy just ended up in Western State Hospital again over the summer.  He ended up there, hidden for a month, almost four months before he got out.  And you know why they wouldn’t let him out?   What was the word, hyper-verbal.  Well, I’m sorry, we liked Tommy’s hyper-verbalness, because it was hyper verbalness that helped us get our first attention.

Then we had the TBI Fund Act we had to revise it .

The TBI Fund Act

So what is the TBI Fund Act, what, what does it do?

It added $2.00 to every moving violation in our state and that goes into what’s called a TBI Fund.  Out of the TBI  Fund myself and Penny right now have the RFP for support groups.  And so I think this last year we gave out $70,000.00 in grants to support groups for flyers, refreshments or whatever, to enrich the support groups.  Of course we don’t, we don’t keep enough for the infrastructure is one of the things.

But it’s never been about money for most of us who are doing this for the right reason.    I don’t think any of us have passed the poverty level since our injury but it’s about the passion to create hope, because we’ve all been so hopeless.  Anyway, we have the Act and we still couldn’t get the money, because the legislation wasn’t right.  So we had to do a revision Act.  And that took another year.  So we revised it, so we have access to the money.

What else is the money used for in the TBI Fund?

It does a clubhouse over in the Seattle area.  It does a conference.  We have the largest conferences in the nation.  Our Fifth Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference.  It supports a counsel, which I think needs to be amended.  That might be what I’ll do this year. A counsel of 24, it’s kind of a wide variety of people.  We wanted a good representation.    It provides a little veteran money, support money for vet core groups that we have on the colleges.

We’re hoping that it’ll, it does a help line which at this point I don’t advertise in any of our groups because it hasn’t, it’s just a, that’s one of the things we’re going to revise.  It just needs to meet the errors (and omissions) thing.  I just think it needs to be redefined so it’s safe.

Then a couple of other little, housing projects.  We did a housing study with it (TBI Fund Act).  Housing’s a huge issue for folks.   I’m coming out, where do they go if they don’t have nowhere to go.    So it’s a $1.5 million a year, which sounds like a lot but it’s really not when you’re talking 100,000 survivors in our state.

Next in Part Thirty One – Empowering At Core of Brain Injury Advocacy


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447