Jamie Wolfe was a powerful disability rights advocate who was devoted to her work in developing and influencing public policy to create independence for people in the disability community.
Jamie worked tirelessly to help people with disabilities in addressing equal rights in the community and in education, discrimination in housing and employment, vocational rehabilitation, assistance in transferring from nursing homes into the community, and accessible transportation.
Most recently she was the chairperson of the Delaware State Council of Persons with Disabilities. Prior to this time, she was chairperson of the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council. For 10 years she worked as the Disabilities Specialist and educator at the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies.
Jamie was a key player in getting many bills passed that allowed for individuals to hire their own personal attendants. The Attendant Services Bill provided state funding for attendant services enabling people with disabilities to live in their own homes in the community. A follow-up bill resulted in changes made to the Nurse Practices Act that allowed for those who can direct their own home medical care to do so using their home attendants rather than the direct provision by a nurse. This change removed a significant barrier for people with disabilities who chose to live in their own homes in the community.
Another legislative initiative on which she worked tirelessly was the Medicaid Buy-In Program, also known as in Delaware as the Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities. When individuals have to use Medicaid, they must stay at a certain income limit; otherwise, they would be ineligible. Medicaid is a lifeline for many people with disabilities. Medicaid provides long-term supports and services, such as attendant services and durable medical equipment including power wheelchairs, lifting devices, and other assistive technologies that help people with disabilities to live in their own homes. Commercial insurance rarely covers these technologies. Jamie worked on an initiative to eliminate these income limits on the disabled. The program was a big move towards equity for the disability community because, be-fore Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities was financed, people had to choose be-tween employment and Medicaid.
Jamie was also a leader in devising legislation surrounding: statewide attendant services, accessible parking laws, integrating community based housing for people with disabilities, the “lemon law” for assistive technology devices, and the “Gold Alert" program for notification for a missing person with a disability or missing senior citizen, and many, many others to numerous to list.
Jamie received many awards, including her recent induction into the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the Delaware State Council for Persons with Disabilities, which is awarded to an individual with a disability or to an advocate that has helped the disability rights movement.
Jamie was awarded the Governor’s Employee of the Year award from the State Rehabilitation Council, the Mary Custis “Custie” Straughn Memorial Award from the State Council for Persons with Disabilities and the John Jefferson Memorial Award for Advocacy.
On the personal side, Jamie loved her family, close friends, a good margarita, and rock and roll music, especially the music of Billy Joel and Tom Petty. She was an avid lover of the blues, a devoted attendee of the Thursday night Fairway Blues Jams and a member of the board of the Central Delaware Blues Society.
Jamie graduated from Dover High School. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and her master’s degree from Delaware State University.
Jamie was a devoted sister to Donna and Lisa Wolfe, sister-in-law to Jeff Heisler, daughter to Sheila and Martin Wolfe, niece to Ira Wolfe and Mel and Linda Rosenblatt. Jamie treasured her many friendships. There was a special place in Jamie’s heart reserved for Dave Cotullas, Terri Hancharick, Kyle Hodges, Renee Kohl, Rosanna Lepore, Pat Miachle and Jo Singles. Jamie was a teacher, a mentor, and a friend to hundreds of Delawareans and to national advocates, as well.
There will be a memorial service Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 4:30 PM, Jonathan’s Landing Golf Course in Magnolia, Delaware, where a visitation will be held from 4PM to 7PM. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations in Jamie’s name to The Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens, Massey Station, Dover, DE 19901, to support the stage production of the new disability history play ‘Boundless’.
Links to articles about Jamie
• Delaware News Journal Online:
• State Council For Persons With Disabilities: https://scpd.delaware.gov
• Please check Jamie’s Facebook page to see many the many online tributes as well as videos capturing Jamie’s story.