The first annual Tyler Greene Scholarship was awarded to Waterloo West High School senior, Sandi Hasanagic, this year. This $2,500 renewable scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates an understanding of Ability Awareness and inclusion through extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or general behavior. This scholarship was established in memory of Waterloo native, Tyler Greene.
Tyler Greene was known as a friend to everyone around Waterloo and was probably best known for his outgoing, warm demeanor. Tyler had cerebral palsy and other disabilities, which he fully embraced. He spent his life sharing the message of Ability Awareness – that what someone can do is much more important than what they cannot do – around the world. He delivered keynote presentations at dozens of national conferences and his DVD “I’m Tyler…don’t be surprised” has been distributed to 29 countries. Rather than complain about his own disabilities, he advocated for anyone marginalized by our world today including those with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA community, and racial minorities.
Tyler was a familiar and friendly face around the Cedar Valley. He was a graduate of West High School, Hawkeye Community College, and the University of Northern Iowa and was actively involved at First Congregational UCC of Waterloo, Threehouse Collaborative Campus Ministries, local theatre, and Scouts.
Sadly, Tyler passed away in 2021 at the age of 31 after being struck by a car while out in his wheelchair. Tyler’s loss was felt in our community and around the world because of the many lives he touched with his message of kindness, love, and acceptance of all.
To honor Tyler’s legacy and continue his advocacy work, his parents, Paul and Gina Greene, established the Tyler Greene Fund through the Waterloo Community Foundation. Gina said, “We are proud Waterloo people. Tyler was proud of living in Waterloo and its diversity and uniqueness”. This fund benefits organizations and programs that promote Ability Awareness and inclusion. It also distributes to the Tyler Greene Scholarship Fund.
The Greenes are grateful to continue Tyler’s work by impacting the lives of others in the community through the Tyler Greene Fund and Scholarship. Paul continued, “Waterloo was good to Tyler and Tyler wanted to be good to Waterloo”.