Denny “Maintaining”

Writing By Natasha Majewski

Since the accident, Denny Granata has remained socially active, participating on boards, often as a senior board member, for a variety of local organizations working to better serve Nevada’s disabled populations, including the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, the City of Reno and City of Sparks Access Committees and the Communication Access Council.

“Reno has been the best thing for him because it’s been so encouraging and accepting and inclusive and that’s really helped my dad throughout all these years,” says Monica.

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Denny with his children Marc and Monica while they were still in school
Photo courtesy of Denny Granata

Family has also been an incredibly important part of his life.  Photos of his children, grandchildren, friends and other relatives hang in picture frames covering his walls.

“Family and friends mean everything to me because I have such a strong relationship with both,” says Denny.

His daughter completely agrees.

“I would say that family has always been top priority to him, before the accident and after,” says Monica.  “It just takes on a new meaning now.  Now he depends on his family for a lot of things.”

Although Denny sees his children and grandchildren a few times a year, he often communicates with them through email, over the phone, TTY’s, or through the family website that Monica maintains.

Denny with his granddaughter and daughter-in-law

Denny with his granddaughter Ellie and daughter-in-law Erica

Denny’s perseverance still inspires his family.  Marc, now doing his residency as a medical student, began as a speech pathologist inspired by his father’s condition.

But most of all, it is Denny’s spirit that lights up Marc’s face when describing his dad.

“I watch him sometimes now with his physical disability, and it’s hard for him,” says Marc. “From the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed, little things that you and I probably take for granted—I know I do—they are struggles for him.  But yet he just keeps going, and his spirit is amazing,” says Marc.

When his daughter recently moved to Denver, she began volunteering at Craig’s Hospital where Denny recovered from his accident.   She also draws inspiration and knowledge from her father’s struggle to help her take care of her son who was born with a disability.

Denny with his family at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.

Denny with his family at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.

My son has cerebral palsy and he’s one of the most persistent, dedicated, hardworking individuals I see,” says Monica.  “I look at my dad, and he was the same way.  I’ve got to believe that my dad gave me that, and I’m hopefully giving it to my son.  He [Denny] can teach so many people about persevering and not giving up, and having a positive outlook and leaning on family or faith to pull you through because it’s been such a challenging road in so many regards.”

Denny admits that not everything is easy.  He has a carved wooden sign in his bathroom that says Lord, Help Me Hang in There, and he credits his faith as one of his biggest supports through the years.

“I have such a positive attitude because of my religious upbringing which has taught me that God does not give anyone any more than they can handle,” says Denny.  “I very much believe He has other plans for me that are bigger and better, and even if it doesn’t happen, I feel very comfortable because I know that I have eternal salvation.”