Ronald Mecham’s personal motto is, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and everyday there is something better because I am here.”
Mecham was employed as a church custodian. He was paid for an eight-hour day but usually worked 10-12 hours. Mecham did this because there were other things to be done; he was not asked to nor did he ask to be compensated for it. He believed it was “just service.” When his health and eyesight began to deteriorate, it was determined that he should go on disability. He is happier when helping someone out; so not having a place to go help people was debilitating to him. He felt he had no work thus no purpose; so he slept 16 hours per day until his family came home to be with him.
This was just not the Mecham way, so he decided to go to school and learn new skills. The local technical school was not equipped to handle his disabilities nor were they willing to become equipped. But, he did not let that stop him, and instead jumped at a chance to go to a school for the blind in Salt Lake. There, he learned to become more independent, how to be mobile with a cane, and how to cook and clean without sight. He came home from school and advised the family he would take over the household chores so his wife could concentrate on her business and support the family.
Though many people were not willing to give him a job initially, there were numerous people who accepted his services after his graduation. Mecham was appointed to the Utah Blind Consumer Council, which led to a position with the Orrin Hatch Committee for Persons with Disabilities. He was appointed to the Advisory Council to the School for the Blind, and he became involved with Options for Independence in the Low Vision Support Group.
Mecham was also asked to join the Legislative Coalition for the Persons With Disabilities and learned to be an effective advocate in getting legislation passed for that group. He was invited to join the Consumer Council for the Center for Persons with disabilities at Utah State University and elected to a four-year term on the Utah Council of the Blind Consumer Board. In addition, he joined the Lion’s International Service club, and he teaches the High Priests Group Sunday Lessons and is the Stake Executive Secretary at his Church.
Mecham chose to continue to make his life fruitful, and he is now in Salt Lake City 2-3 days a week. He is able to council others with similar concerns, make appointments, and refer to those who can help with disability issues. He has a purpose again and works harder than he did when he was receiving a paycheck.
Ronald Mecham is a testament to his wife and children. One of his daughter’s friends had a sister diagnosed with Leukemia. They said she was crying all the time and not able to function. Mecham’s daughter said that she was glad her Dad had so many concerns. She said her father’s struggles made their family stronger. She also told her friend that their family does not let problems get in their way; they just deal with them and move on.