Richard Ruffalo is a master motivator, author, educator, and internationally recognized athlete who lost his eyesight at age 32 but never lost his vision as an educator. His story, passion, and experiences have inspired thousands.
At age 32, Ruffalo lost his eyesight but never lost his "vision." At the Walt Disney Company 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 nationwide television.
Ruffalo continues motivating every audience to a high level of inspiration while speaking to Fortune 500 companies, schools, and conventions. When he is not at a speaking engagement, Ruffalo can be found in his classroom teaching biology or coaching discus, shot put, javelin, or powerlifting. In 1994 he was selected as one of five educators from the United States to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. As a favored citizen of Belleville, New Jersey, he received the "Outstanding Citizen of the Year" award in 1994.
In addition, 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 32 national titles, set 9 world and 15 national records, and has won 13 USA Track and Field K-2ster's State Titles against sighted competitors.
In 1988, -the United States Olympic Committee named Ruffalo as the 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, the Academy Award of Sports, as the nation's most inspirational athlete of 1989. In 1994, he was also inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.
Recently, Ruffalo was named one of the ten Healthy American Fitness Leaders by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, as well as one of America's "Hometown Heroes" on the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. In addition, Ruffalo received an honorary doctorate for his life's work and was named "New Jersey's Teacher of the Year.' In September of 1998, he was presented the always Kids Hometown Heroes Salute to Excellence P award" rino!mantmeq on 7A17 by the Quaker Oats Company as a role model for kids across the country.
Rich 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 being developed.