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A New Bern resident is trying to change the way people view the handicap symbol

By Jamie Hicks
Published On: Feb 13 2013 06:50:29 PM CST
CRAVEN COUNTY -

A New Bern resident is trying to change the way people view the handicap symbol.

The international symbol shows a figure sitting down, and he wants to show the figure moving forward.

Brendon Hildreth is a 22-year-old man with a big heart and even bigger dreams. He was born with cerebral palsy but he doesn't let his disability ground him.

He is unable to speak clearly, but using his “talk machine” Brendon introduces himself.

"Hello my name is Brendon, my muscles work differently but that doesn't make me any less of a leader."

Originally from Massachusetts, Brendon moved to New Bern in October with big plans for his new hometown.

He is a part of a group called "EPIC" which stands for Empowering People for Inclusive Communities.

Before moving to North Carolina, Brendon and his friend Jeff, started a project called the Accessible Icon Project.

Brendon’s goal with the Accessible Icon Project is to change the international symbol you see in handicap parking spots into an individual moving forward.

Brendon believes the international symbol shows a person who is stiff and needs help. He feels that just because you are in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't one day overcome that disability.

He wants to start in New Bern with the symbol and bring it across the whole state of North Carolina.

In Malden, Massachusetts the mayor adopted the project and businesses throughout the town changed their symbol.

 “I hope people understand that this project is about more than just a picture. People look at me differently just because my muscles don't work the same as theirs, but my disability does not change the fact that i am a leader," said Brendon.