Willing and Able
July 1992

“Willing and Able,” Ensign, July 1992, 63

Willing and Able

The sign inside his door reads, “Being disabled does not mean being unable.” For Kevin Likes, this motto has become a way of life. A member of the Union Fort Ninth Ward, Midvale Utah Union Fort Stake, he now serves as a home teacher. Kevin has served previously in other wards as elders quorum president and as a counselor in the elders quorum presidency. His life has been dedicated to serving others, with a special emphasis on enabling the disabled.

A victim of a severe form of muscular dystrophy, Kevin knows the real meaning of “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” His muscles are wasting away, and his already limited movement is decreasing. Besides that, he has diabetes and asthma. But Kevin has already lived longer than the disease usually allows.

Appointed by Utah’s Governor Norman H. Bangerter, Kevin has served as legislative chair for the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities and has spent countless hours lobbying before the legislature to pass important bills that relate to the disabled.

Legislators know and respect Kevin for his advocacy of the cause and for being such an articulate spokesman. At the end of one legislative session, Kevin was given recognition for his outstanding efforts when he received an award from the legislative coalition. Jan Mallett, director of the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, said, “Kevin is a respected voice for the disabled.” Because of his condition, he has a tracheostomy, which allows him to breathe. Usually such a hole in the throat prevents speech. “The only way I can explain my ability to speak is that it is an act of God,” Kevin says with an infectious smile.

“Kevin is a real presence at the capitol,” said Marilyn Call, director of the Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities. “He takes away everyone’s excuses for getting things done, when they all realize how much he goes through just to get there.”

Excuses? Kevin doesn’t know the meaning of the word. In 1981, Kevin earned a degree in business management at the community college, maintaining an A- average. With the help of his sister, Ramona, and his mother, both of whom also suffer severe disabilities, and his friends, Kevin has refused to believe in excuses.

In the past year, Kevin has been hospitalized frequently for congestive heart failure and complications of his diabetes. His faith allows him to see his trials as “helping him grow.” He says, “My philosophy of life is that if we stay close to the Lord, anything is possible.” Friends feel Kevin’s faith and seek the blessing of associating with him.—Bunny Johnson, Laramie, Wyoming

Enabling the disabled person is Kevin’s cause on Utah’s Capitol Hill. (Photo by Phil Shurtleff.)