Altoona, IA: In response to Cityview’s recent attack on Dave Funk’s disability status, he has composed an open letter to the residents of Polk County:
I am campaigning on the belief that Polk County citizens deserve honesty, openness, and fairness from their government. To that end, I would like to give an honest response to some flawed accusations leveled against me, regarding my disability, in this week’s Cityview. Anyone who would like to read the decision can find it at http://decisions.iowaworkforce.org/workerscomp/2007/September/Funk,%20David-5010803D.doc.
During my career as a pilot, like all employees in Iowa and across the other forty nine states, I was covered by private workers’ compensation insurance in case I was ever injured on the job and unable to continue my work.
Unfortunately, I severely injured my neck, twice. After both injuries, I filed a claim to receive the medical and short-term disability benefits that had already been paid for.
The result of that claim was that, legally speaking, I was declared “permanently and totally disabled” by the Iowa Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner. A neck injury prevented me from continuing with my duties as an international airline captain. That status has not changed. I will never again qualify for the Federal Aviation Administration First Class medical certificate which would allow me to return to an airline flying career.
However, I reject the notion (appearing as the dominant theme in Cityview’s attack) that partially disabled people can never return from their injury to make any kind of contribution to their communities. While it took over three years and multiple surgeries for me to recover to the point where I am comfortable working again, I am proud to say that I have reached a point where I can be productive.
While I remain legally partially disabled because I will never heal to the point that I can be an airline captain again, I can and do contribute to society as a productive member of the Polk County community. There are many things I will never be able to do, but I can discharge the duties of a Polk County Supervisor. I can bring honest, fair, and open government back to Polk County.
To that end, I call on Tom Hockensmith to join me in condemning libelous pieces like Cityview’s that do nothing but demean Iowans struggling with injuries and disabilities and distract from the real issues facing Polk County.
To learn more about the Funk for Supervisor campaign visit: www.PolkNeedsFunk.com.
 “Total [industrial] disability does not mean a state of absolute helplessness. Permanent total [industrial] disability occurs where the injury wholly disables the employee from performing work that the employee’s experience, training, education, intelligence and physical capacities would otherwise permit the employee to perform. See McSpadden v. Big Ben Coal Co., 288 N.W.2d 181 (Iowa 1980); Diederich v. Tri-City R. Co., 219 Iowa 587, 258 N.W. 899 (1935).”