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Richard Ruffalo  

Richard Ruffalo, master motivator, author, educator and internationally recognized athlete, inspires a wide range of audiences everywhere.

At age 32, he lost his eyesight and wanted to give up teaching, but with the support of his family and school administration, he never lost his "vision." At the Walt Disney Co./McDonald's American Teacher Awards, Ruffalo was named both the Outstanding Coach of the Year and the Outstanding Teacher of the Year for 1995. Vice President Al Gore presented the award to him on national television.

Ruffalo continues to persist and excel, speaking to Fortune 500 companies, schools, conventions and numerous other events, motivating every audience to a high level of inspiration.

As a teacher, he was selected as one of five educators from the United States to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. Ruffalo has won numerous honors and awards for his athletic ability. He is the winner of four different world titles in shot put, discus, javelin and powerlifting. He has earned 14 international gold medals, won 27 national titles, set 9 world and 15 national records, and has won 11 USA Track and Field Master's State Titles against sighted competitors.

In 1988, the United States Olympic Committee named Ruffalo Disabled Athlete of the Year for athletic, civic and professional accomplishments. He is a three-time winner of the coveted Governor's Cup Award and winner of the Victor Award, as the nation's most inspirational athlete of 1989. In 1994, he was inducted into the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Ruffalo received an honorary doctorate for his life work in 1997.

Recently Ruffalo was named one of ten Healthy American Fitness Leaders by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce and one of America's "Hometown Heroes" on the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. In September 1998, Ruffalo was honored by the Quaker Oats Company on the "Always Kids" program on TNT with the Salute to Excellence Award as a role model for kids across the country. He also appeared on "The Hour of Power" with Dr. Robert Schuler in 1999. This program was aired to 40 million viewers from 185 nations.

Ruffalo is an inspiration and a motivator for everyone. A movie on his life to be aired on the Wonderful World of Disney is currently under development.

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