Mathy Milling Downing
My feelings about Bert Karon revolve around the emotional aspect of who he was and his great determination to go on and be a part of life and work, not letting his disabilities get in his way. I never knew him before the accident, but what I did see, was an outstanding individual whom I deeply admired for his inner strength. It was at a conference in Syracuse, New York, with Dr. Peter Breggin, that I first witnessed the camaraderie they shared. The two of them sat on the platform reminiscing about past experiences. It was the first time I had seen Bert animated. I continued to see him annually after that, always displaying great dignity, regardless of the handicap that kept him locked in a chair. His capabilities also shone through at a conference held at Michigan State in Lansing, again, with Dr. Breggin. That was one of my favorite conferences. He was an eloquent speaker, which brought many out to hear him, some from as far away as Australia.
One of the greatest personal honors bestowed upon me in my 15 year journey as an activist, was receiving the Mary Karon Humanitarian Award. I was totally shocked to receive it and hold it in high esteem. We all have our personal crosses to bare, but in some way, I felt a connection to Bert because of our very deep and personal losses. We were both fighters, survivng such deep sorrow, but continuing on. He was a great man with tremendous courage. No one can replace him. I'm proud to honor him, and I will never forget him.