CM – Grillot

Matt Grillot

Voting Member, DeWitt

Matt Grillot

Matt Grillot shares that he is a 43-year-old power wheelchair using quadriplegic, having been injured at the age of 6 in 1983. This was well before the ADA, the Internet, and his family’s awareness of Centers for Independent Living and the Independent Living Movement. His parents taught him that he would need to know his cares better than anybody else, including nurses and doctors.

When he was a Junior in high school he met Liz Sherwin from the Illinois/Iowa Center for Independent Living (IICIL). During his study hall periods, over the course of a couple months, she trained him in the basics of Personal Attendant (PA) management. She also assisted him in his transition from high school to college. A year after graduating from Iowa State University (ISU) in 2000, with a business degree majoring in Accounting, he was asked if he would be willing to be on the IICIL’s Board of Directors. He was approved to serve on the Board and did so for six years from 2000-2006. During that time he served as Vice President and President. From 2013 to 2019 he served another six years on the IICIL’s Board of Directors as a Voting Member.

For as long as he can remember, he’s spoken up for his rights as a person with a disability and those of others when and where he could. In January 2019 he joined the Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Association. Since then he has participated in their bi-weekly peer support meetings and various advocacy projects. One of those projects is now called Upgrade Medicaid which also has an active Facebook group. On December 2, 2019, he was appointed as a Voting Member of the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC).

In March of 2003 he bought his own house in Dewitt, and has lived there ever since with the support of personal attendants. Looking back on things he’s realized that Independent Living has been a major part of who he is.