I Am Wilshire – Joni Cabaniss.
Hometown: Hobbs, New Mexico. Grew up in Midland, Texas;
Education: B.S. in Physical Therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston;
Profession: Physical therapist;
Present city: Dallas since 1975;
Tell us about your family.
My sister, her adult children and two grandchildren live in Mansfield. My brother and his wife live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Their adult children are in New York, North Carolina and Iowa.
Tell us about your work or volunteer life.
I worked as a physical therapist at Baylor University Medical Center after PT school in 1975. I have always been part of the Baylor system, and I was very fortunate when the need for designated rehabilitation staff was recognized. I was part of the original rehab staff that helped develop the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation when it opened in 1989. I was part of the team that created the original spinal cord injury service that has now expanded and improved SCI rehab care. I now work as a substitute physical therapist at Baylor Rehab on an as-needed basis. I have been a volunteer with Baptist Church Builders of Texas since 1997. In June 2023 we will build a new building for the Harvest Church of Southern Illinois. I’ve also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and as a kindergarten helper at Lakewood Elementary School.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Gardening, reading and walking in my neighborhood and at the Arboretum.
What is your favorite place to travel?
Anywhere I haven’t been lately. Most recently, Chicago and Mackinac Island with the Wilshire Adventurers and New York City with another friend. I enjoy Europe, Asia and South America.
What brought you to Wilshire and when?
I grew up Methodist. I was “immersed” at Grace Baptist Church in Arlington in 1990 and attended there until the church split. I joined Wilshire in 1994 after multiple people recommended George and Wilshire.
Where are you engaged at Wilshire?
I was median adult Sunday School coordinator at Wilshire from 1998 to 2010 when Carolyn Shapard was Adult Minister. I’m an active deacon, sing in Sanctuary Choir and attend Discovery Class.
What’s something interesting most people wouldn’t know about you?
During the 1980s, I taught Tom Cruise how therapists teach individuals with paraplegia to move or transfer from one surface to the other. He and Oliver Stone were in Dallas before the filming of the movie Born on the Fourth of July, which was based on the true story of a Vietnam-era soldier’s journey through the VA healthcare system and his adjustment back to civilian life in a wheelchair. Cruise was extremely attentive and interested and asked great questions.
If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming I Am Wilshire article, contact Carolyn Murray