Lauren Heberling ('07, ’08M)
Lauren met Dustin as a student teacher in the high needs program at S. Gordon Stewart Middle School in Augusta County, VA. He was a sixth grader at the time. Instantly she was drawn to his positive attitude and smile. Presently, Lauren teaches in the high needs program at Fort Defiance High School. She is lucky enough to have Dustin as a freshman. The idea for Team Dustin was originally from her husband, Eric Heberling. While the husband and wife duo completed the Baltimore marathon Eric proposed the idea of completing the Park to Park ½ marathon in Waynesboro with Dustin because the organization Therapeutic Adventures benefits from the race. Therapeutic Adventure’s mission is to educate, to challenge and to inspire ALL persons with differing abilities to improve their quality of life by providing greater access, awareness and participation in adaptive outdoor recreation. Once the ball was rolling Eric and Lauren asked present and former teachers, support staff, administration, and friends of Dustin to help keep Dustin rolling. On April 30th, 2011, Dustin became the first person to complete the Park to Park half marathon in a wheelchair.
"JMU has the best special education staff period. Without their inspiration, motivation, and their continued mentoring once I became a speducator I would never be where I am today. They gave me the foundation of skills necessary to not only be successful as a speducator but to take that extra step and go above and beyond to advocate and encourage students with disabilities." - Lauren Heberling ('07, ’08M)
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