2017 InDOTpendence Contest Winners!

Congratulations to the 2017 Echo Dot InDOTpendence Winners!


NMD United, Inc. hosted an InDOTpendence contest January - December 2017. We gave away an Echo Dot to one new winner each month. The Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to control smart home devices, provide information, set alarms, make phone calls, and more. This piece of technology brings independence to the user allowing one to turn on lights, fans, switches, thermostats and other electronic items within the home environment with a simple vocal request.

Winning entries were selected from participants who demonstrates an understanding of what it means to be Connecting the Dots to Independence while showing their personality and style as a disabled person!

Sarah Sanchez

December Winner

"Me fishing with my electric fishing reel one last time before winter started a few years ago."

Samantha Lorey

November Winner

"Uh, Alexa, order more dog treats!"

Sam Mallad

October Winner

"I currently own one Echo Dot and 2 Amazon Echo’s. I have one in my bedroom, another in my den and in my kitchen. If I happen to win this device will go in my bathroom. I am age 63 with SMA type 2 and have lost my hand strength and my voice is getting softer. I live with my mom and other family members. At first I used my Echo for music and news. Now, it has become my new communication system with members of my household. With the new 'Drop In' feature I can call other Echo devices like an intercom and tell someone I need help, like during the night. Another feature which helps my independence is the ability to have Alexa make calls or send messages to my contacts who only need to have the Amazon Alexa app on their Iphone or Android. Having one in my bathroom will allow me to have every room connected."

Carole Zoom

September Winner

"I'm hoping to win an Amazon Dot from NMD United to help me manage all the things."

Matt Plummer

August Winner

"Having a Dot and access to a 'smarter' home will provide me with the reach to turn on and off the lights, and the peace of mind for Alexa to call my wife if the worst should happen while home alone. An Echo Dot would be the beginning of my implementation of a smart home to better suit my new found independence and accessibility of my new home."

Elizabette Guecamburu

July Winner

"I live with my father in a rural area— on a farm— so having an alert system would be vital to my safety since emergency services are slower to arrive out of the city limits. While livestock and fields of farmland make peaceful neighbors, they aren't the greatest in an emergency situation. Frankly, an Echo Dot is much more useful to me than a 75-pound bleating, alfalfa-eating lamb... no matter how cute you may think they are."

Brandon Johnson

June Winner

"An Echo Dot would help me to access my electronic devices more independently. Medicaid also helps me to be more independent by allowing me to live in my own home. Tell your Senator to vote NO on the Senate Health care bill. No Cuts to Medicaid! NMD United #InDOTpendence Connecting the Dots to Independence."

Lauren Marie Biancucci

May Winner

"I am a mother to a 17 month old smart, loving, spunky and hilarious daughter that I take care of during the day, with physical assistance that I direct. Independence in caring for my daughter has been more of an emotional experience for me after I saw how much help I really needed while Gia is still so young.

At this stage with my daughter, and even myself, I require help with nearly any physical task for my daughter, and most for myself as well. I'm appreciative and grateful I have assistance, however we also know that in this community it is hard to find quality, good workers, and so anything that I can do myself will be done just as I want without a long explanation!

There literally is not a free moment at times in the day with my caregiver helping me and Gia, often at the same time. The smallest things from turning on/off the lights or sound machine, preparing her meals, preparing my own meals, warming my tea every 30-60 minutes, warming her bottle, warming my daily heat packs I need, and even the ability to be hands free and voice connected when my hands are not working well, it would boost my mood so much to be able to do more myself.

My daughter loves for me to play her music, for example, and dance with her. We also play meditation music while sleeping, which puts her to sleep and helps ease my anxiety. I currently must wake my partner to turn on and then off the CD player on his nightstand as I cannot even with it in reach. He has to get up at 5 AM for work every day like many people, however he is also my night care and knows that Gia and I sleep best with meditation music or lullaby's. He also turns me at night and helps my daughter. He cares for me without complaint, but I still avoid having him or even PCA's do tasks that I do not need right away if I can put it off. Taking things off his to-do list that he has to wake up for, and also having the CD player able to be turned on by me during that day or night would be helping my whole family. I would not have to pick and choose what I need done in order of necessity with the time available.

The fact that I can also turn on the blender for my daily G-tube feeds, use the toaster oven to do my own snacks and some meals, have an important question answered without needing to type if I'm having a weak day, and above all using it for safety would make winning this Dot life changing.

I could also use this if I had an emergency with my child, myself or somebody else in my home that needed emergency help. I think that is the best gift: PEACE OF MIND. This and more independence would profoundly change my life and even my relationships in ways I never thought possible and were just a dream."

Jake Bray

April Winner

"Awesome time in my life! My dudes and I after winning the National Power Soccer Championship! #inDOTpendence"

Tammy Duke

March Winner

"I have made the decision to move out of my parent's home for the second time in my life. I moved out at age 18 to go to college and moved back home at age 45 due to a medical set back. I have to integrate myself back into society because I know it is necessary for my self esteem and emotional well being. I am trying to juggle attendant care hours and figure out a system so that I am as independent as possible but also safe. I receive less than 60 hours a week in PCA hours, so the idea of an Echo DOT will allow me to independently operate lights, make phone calls, etc when I am alone."

Jensen Caraballo

February Winner

"Independence is the most important thing for many disabled people, but it doesn’t come very easy to some of us and it looks different for all of us. The InDOTpendence Contest by NMD United is equipping one new winner each month in 2017 with an Echo Dot. This will give 12 people a chance to become more independent. Here is how it could assist my independence and current goals.


The Echo Dot is a voice-controlled, hands-free device. This is like heaven on earth for most people like me. I am a proud gimp, but losing muscle strength and learning how to adapt is a very real challenge I face. Being able to call for help by using a simple voice command when my arms are literally too weak to move would save me a lot of energy. This is lifesaving stuff, but let me be clear: I don’t expect Alexa to use the cough assist method on me after I’ve decided to eat the popcorn I knew would make me choke.

The Dot would also bring me independence by helping me become more organized. I could set alarms and reminders for whenever I need to remember to do something. For example, Alexa would remind me to pay my bills, join important advocacy webinars and trainings, stay on task with projects I’m working on, etc. I could even ask Alexa to create calendar events that would sync to all my devices.

Last but not least, the Echo Dot could support my independence even when I’m reading. I do a lot of reading. I have loved to read since I learned how to read, but there was a time when reading became increasingly difficult because most books were too heavy for me to physically manage. My passion for reading came back when I discovered Audible, a service that allows users to download and listen to audiobooks. With Alexa, I would have the freedom to play, pause, rewind, and stop any audiobook I’m reading.

I am excited about this contest because it will provide winners with the opportunity to lead more independent lives. This is crucial. NMD United is Connecting the Dots to Independence!"

Melissa Milinovich

January Winner

"My daughter sleeps with me because she likes to but also because it helps me be able to wake her up for school in the morning. Once she turns 10, she is getting a ‘big girl’ room and I expect her to sleep more often in her room. With something like Alexa, I could turn on her bedroom light or turn music on in her room to wake her up for school when she normally cannot hear just my voice."

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Suite 300, #927

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