Accomplishing worthwhile goals sometimes takes a very long time but is very rewarding.
— Mike Volpe
One of our state’s most effective and dedicated advocates for people with disabilities, Michael Robert Volpe, recently passed away. We were deeply saddened by this news. Mike cheerfully and relentlessly pushed us to do better in serving people in Oregon and brought a perspective to our work that was both personal and deeply considered. We credit him for helping shape programs in Oregon that redefined how long-term services and supports should be delivered.
Mike graduated with degrees in Forestry and teaching English as a second language. When the progression of his multiple sclerosis made the pursuit of his career detrimental to his health, he decided to pursue a volunteer future as an advocate for people with disabilities. He started out as a member of his local Disabilities Services Advisory Council and gradually moved on to other groups and boards. These included the State Independent Living Council, the Oregon Home Care Commission, the Oregon Disabilities Commission, and the Community Advisory Council for the Coordinated Care Organization for his local area. He also served on the statewide Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) Advisory Council from its inception in 2010 and was active in the development of the initial ADRC State Plan.
Notably, Mike was a member of the Senate Bill 21 Steering Committee, which charted a comprehensive plan for the future of Oregon’s long-term services and supports system. He was very active in the group and in the recommendations in the final report. Mike eventually got involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society as a District Activist Leader where he was advocating with Federal Legislators.
Because of his many contributions, the ODHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities named an award for Mike in 2019. When honored with the award, he said, “Accomplishing worthwhile goals sometimes takes a very long time but is very rewarding.”
We know that Mike’s dedication and service touched many people’s lives in Oregon, including many of you. We wanted to be sure you had the opportunity to read his obituary, which shares the rich life Mike lived. It also provides details on the celebration of life service being held in his memory from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7, at Avery Park (Lions Shelter) in Corvallis. You are also welcomed to share your thoughts and memories for Mike’s family on his Tribute Wall.
Our time with Mike was too short, but the positive influence he had in creating a more accessible Oregon will be everlasting.
Written by APD Leadership
Oregon Disabilities Services Advisory Council