March 26, 2021

Book on life, impact of advocate with Down syndrome is story of faith, love, family

Greg, left, and Mark Hublar pose in Mark’s New Albany apartment with the book Greg wrote about the against-the-odds accomplishments and impact of his brother, who overcame challenges of Down syndrome to become a motivational speaker advocating around the state and nation for the employment of those with disabilities. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Greg, left, and Mark Hublar pose in Mark’s New Albany apartment with the book Greg wrote about the against-the-odds accomplishments and impact of his brother, who overcame challenges of Down syndrome to become a motivational speaker advocating around the state and nation for the employment of those with disabilities. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

NEW ALBANY—Several years ago while praying, an idea came to Greg Hublar. It had to do with writing a book about his brother Mark who, despite having Down syndrome, accomplished things no one thought possible.

“The titles for the 13 chapters just came to me,” said 52-year-old Hublar, a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany. He wrote them down then laid them aside.

About a year and a half ago, Hublar was again praying when “the Lord called [the idea] back to mind and said, ‘You need to get this done,’ ”

Hublar recalled, adding, “I never wrote a book before.”

Hublar is the national sales manager for Flexible Materials, Inc. and he and his wife Lisa have two grown children and one in college. Despite his busy schedule with work and family, he spent his weekends for a year gathering information from his family and writing the book.

“I prayed every time before I started writing,” Hublar said. “The words just flowed. Before I knew it, four, six, 10 hours had gone by.”

The fruit of his effort—A Miracle Named Mark—was published early in March.

It shares Mark’s story from his birth in 1964—when devout Catholics Al and Linda Hublar refused to put their son in an institution as their doctor recommended—to Mark’s current vocation as a motivational speaker who advocates for the employment of those with disabilities.

Common values run through the story: faith, familial love and self-sufficiency.

“Raising Mark has always been a challenge of trying to do the right thing,” Linda says in the book. “Some of the things we let him do were unconventional. But Mark was so determined to be like his brothers that no matter what the challenge, we had to give him the chance.

“All we could do was try to follow our [oldest son Mike’s] examples, and to trust in Mark’s courage and determination. His brothers survived, and we felt Mark would too. We put a lot of trust in God that he would guide us to make the right decision.”

Al added, “We just had one goal—to help Mark reach his full potential, wherever that would lead him!”

A Miracle Named Mark shares the results: a person with Down syndrome who, beyond the odds, not only accomplished life’s milestones, but is impacting the world for the better.

The book abounds with stories of Mark’s journey to be “just like my brothers.” Parachuting with pillowcases. Playing sports. Riding a moped (and getting struck by a car). Living independently since the age of 24 and working various jobs to support himself. Caring for an elderly grandfather.

Then came the day Mark realized his purpose in life: “I want to be a motivational speaker and help my friends with disabilities have a real job and a real life just like me!”

The book shares the process and accomplishments in achieving his purpose, like taking public transportation to Louisville to earn a three-year college degree in public speaking, and Al helping his son start his business, Mark Hublar Speaks.

Then there are the stories of his impact, like the advice he gave former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in raising her son with Down syndrome.

And his address to a federal congressional committee in Washington to discuss a “Bill of Rights” for people born with disabilities.

And the reaction of parents who see through Mark’s actions and hear in his talks that there is hope for their child with disabilities.

“The Lord wanted Mark’s story told,” said Greg. “The world needs to hear [his brother’s] message that God made us all different, but the same.”

There is the additional hope that book sales will help Mark, 56, when he retires, Greg noted. That’s why the Hublar family is each lending their expertise to help with marketing, distribution, accounting and establishing a trust fund.

Part of the book sales will also go toward causes that support Mark’s goal.

“When people buy the book, they can choose from one of seven organizations that help those with disabilities, and we’ll donate 10% of the cost” to that organization, Hublar explained.

There is one other reason he wrote A Miracle Named Mark. It is spelled out before the title page:

This book is dedicated to the countless souls sent to institutions who had no one to speak up for them, as well as the souls which are returned to heaven before taking their first breath, all in the name of Down syndrome.

(The cost of A Miracle Named Mark is $20, 10% of which will be donated to a disabilities-related charity the purchaser selects from list. To purchase a copy, go to www.markjhublarspeaks.com.)

 

Related story: Advocate with Down syndrome promotes employment for ‘friends like me’

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