Farewell to a Great Advocate

Michael McGrath of Knoxville, TN passed away on October 6th 2015. His death was due to complications from his congestive heart failure. He was 34 years old. Michael McGrath was a MWA "lifer". He began supporting the Ms. Wheelchair America program as a resident of Maryland, where he befriended state coordinator, Robert Watson. Michael volunteered as a judge on several occasions and was fortunate to meet many of the women who would go on to compete for and win the title of Ms. Wheelchair America. In 2009, he and Samantha Moreno happened to "meet" online and form a quick friendship. The two were linked not only as wheelchair users and individuals living with muscular dystrophy, but they also shared a desire to advocate for and with people with disabilities. Michael encouraged Samantha to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma, which is where she lived at the time. He also traveled to Michigan to cheer Samantha on as she competed for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America. Michael and Samantha started a life together in Tennessee in 2011. Soon after, they were also asked to revive the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee organization. It was an exciting time and, while it was challenging, they brought life back to the program. Michael served as the organization Treasurer, webmaster, technical writer, and anywhere else he was needed. He was the true definition of the word Volunteer and never said "no" to anyone who needed his help. Michael is survived by his loving family. Samantha wrote once after a Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee Crowning Ceremony: "Thank you to my husband Mike McGrath. When people are questioning my every judgement and when I feel like I can't see the finish line, you are my peaceful getaway and constant encouraging presence." He will be missed terribly.