KENNEWICK, Wash. -- One Kennewick man who was born with a disability decided to live his life to the fullest. 61 year old Larry Seifert says all his life people told him he couldn't do certain things. "They said I couldn't fly, they said I couldn't get an education, and I had trouble getting a job," he says of his life.
But 30 years later, Seifert is retiring from Kamiakin High School as one of the school's most beloved swing shift custodians. "Larry actually looked forward to coming to work because it gave him some structure to his day, it gave him something to do, it gave him some value, because at the end of the month he got a paycheck," says Kennewick School District Superintendent Dave Bond who worked as Principal of Kamiakin High School for five years with Larry.
"I was very determined, motivated. I never did want to end up on welfare," he says. But he took it to the next level. "I was able to go to school, get my college degree, get my pilot's license, travel abroad and earn a pension," says Seifert.
Not only did Seifert graduate from college and earn 52 flying hours for his pilot's license, he took a trip to Europe by himself. "He decided he wanted to go to France after a trip to Egypt with a group, and do France all alone. He asked for some assistance and I helped him pick up some vocabulary words and practice. He did that all by himself," says Karina Thorne, the French teacher at the school.
Seifert is also a home owner and even remodeled his whole house on his own. Some bad beck and neck injuries have forced him to retire, but he's not prepared to sit around. Seifert says he's trying to get a job moving trucks for car dealerships and will also be doing some yard work at his house. There is a book in the works about all of his accomplishments.
His retirement party will be Saturday at noon at the Kennewick Red Robin.