April 22, 1985 - Sept. 27, 2013
Resident of Union City
My name is Al and I was born with an incredible determination to compliment the challenging life ahead of me with cerebral palsy. Being equal parts of Polish and Korean- I was quite the "spice." With all that I was, I mastered being charming, humorous, and even mischievous just to mention a few of my most loved characteristics. As my family knows best, I also had a deep sensitive, loyal and loving side.
Being limited to a wheelchair, made me live "adventure and excitement" every moment I had with the people and places I experienced in my 28 years.
I was a sports nut and played Little League Baseball in the Challenger Division for 10 years. I cheered for the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. My sports heroes were Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. I was the Assistant Coach and 2008 Special Olympian of the Year for Track & Field at James Logan High School. Amazingly, I was named Special Athlete of the Year in 2010. I always had a passion for cooking. My culinary heroes were Sara, Jacque T., Julia Child, Nick S., Lidia, and Jamie Oliver. I spent a day as a chef at the Culinary Academy in Napa. Everyone there was asking who Chef Alex Wolny was because they had never heard of me before! (Seriously? After that day, I'll be the "spice" they'll always remember!!!) I enjoyed watching the news, Jeopardy, Whose Line is it Anyway?, Ellen, and Steve Harvey. I loved to laugh and my favorite comedians were: George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Ellen, and Russel Peters
I was employed as a "Professional Game Contestant" winning money to donate to charities. My heart was made stronger being able to "give" to others, especially, the Union City Special Olympics Team.
I attended Special Education programs at AID, Grankler, Patterson Elem., Alvarado M.S., James Logan H.S., and American H.S. I am grateful to all my teachers: Mrs. Bowman, Mr. G., Mr. Vinson, Coach Webb, Ms. Linn, Ms. Patterson, and more. I want to thank all my paraeducators; JoAnn Starr, Linda Maya, Kyle, and others.
I am grateful to: Mrs. Han, Mrs. Pyun, and others at RCEB. Pilar Ford, my longtime nurse. Doreen, Judy, Sina, and others at Dungarvin. Poch, Rafael, Lito, Tim, Mike Elias, Nick, Jo Jo, and nurses: Susan, Golda, and Lily at Rieger Place. My MV bus drivers Patricia & Robert. My Durham bus drivers Shirley, and others. Marie, my creative neighbor, who gave me memories to laugh about.
Huge thanks to the medical community who supported me: Dr. R. Kremers, Dr. V. Chu, Dr. Bains, Dr. Organ and many wonderful Kaiser doctors and nurses.
Blessed to have had great & faithful friends: Eugene, Chunshu, Nathan, Aldo, Marco, Paul, Kevin, Sarah, Anthony, Fatima, Zac, Pedro, Robert W., and so many others.
Immeasurable love and appreciation goes to my incredible family who selflessly cared for me and provided the best days of my life; Young (Mother), Andy (Father), brothers Kris and Michael. Babcia, Ciocia Lidzia and her healing treatments, cousins Krysty, Patrick, Wongi and more. Halmoni, Emo's (Korea & Germany) and other relatives in various locations worldwide.
I appreciated all who attended my short noticed "Celebration of Life" event. It was great to have some of my antics shared and laughed about such as my day dressed as a Chia Pet. I know I will be remembered!
My greatest gratitude to all who touched my heart, added to my life, and made my journey an incredible adventure worth having. I finally made it to my destination. I am free! I am dancing! See you later in this better place.
As my last request, please make any donation to the Union City's Special Olympics (payable to Cindy Lamm: email@example.com)
Love, Alex (AKA: Al, Big Al, and Alexander)
Published in Inside Bay Area on Oct. 17, 2013