About Peter

Known for his integrity, loyalty, compassion for others, and formidable comedic streak,  Peter S. Kahrmann is a writer, public speaker, human rights advocate, and a co-founder of the Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition.

The course of Mr. Kahrmann’s life went through a tectonic change when he was held up and shot in the head at point blank range in August 1984. The bullet remains lodged in his brain.

Mr. Kahrmann is a co-founder and former board member of the New York City Chapter of Victims for Victims,  a past member of the NY State Independent Living Council and a former board member of the Brain Injury Association of NY State.

His loyalty to the rights of others was put to the test in 2008 when some members of New York State’s healthcare community sought to intimidate him by making it clear he would lose his entire income if he exposed an Albany-based brain injury waiver program, in which he facilitated workshops, for denying the rights of program participants (some were American veterans). Mr. Kahrmann refused to stop advocating for the rights of the program participants and, as a result, the company was exposed,  Mr. Kahrmann lost his job, his income, and found himself blacklisted from working for waiver providers.

Mr. Kahrmann  went back on disability and began forming the  Kahrmann Advocacy Coalition, a grassroots disability rights group.  He soon exposed the New York State contact employee who had the most power of waiver providers and participants for misrepresenting his educational credentials.

Some elements of  Mr. Kahrmann’s background help explain why he did not flinch when threatened. They help explain the man.

Mr. Kahrmann was adopted when he was five weeks old. At age eight, he began to take ballet lessons. He excelled. At 13 he landed a lead role in a ballet called “Elegy” for the Joffrey Ballet Company.  Growing up, he was closest to his father, Sanford C. Kahrmann, an English teacher at Columbia University and John Jay College for Criminal Justice.

The world changed for Mr. Kahrmann when he was 15. His father died unexpectedly on August 16, 1969; he was 55.  Sixteen weeks later Mr. Kahrmann’s mother had him placed in reform school on a PINS (Person In Need of Supervision) petition. In those days, family courts tended to acquiesce to the wishes of the guardian, the voice of the child was given short shrift, as it were. In sixteen weeks, Mr. Kahrmann had lost the person he loved the most in the world and his family. While he and his mother would reconcile nearly 10 years later, he was never allowed back into the family again.

After his release from reform school, Mr. Kahrmann experience two years of homelessness. Slowly, through odd jobs and the help of friends, he clawed his way back.

In the 1970s and 1980s Mr. Kahrmann began to write plays, for a time acting with the Raymond Barry’s Quena Acting Company, an offshoot of  Joseph Chaikin’s Open Theatre. Everything changed with the 1984 shooting.

In 1987, Mr. Kahrmann searched for and was reunited with his birth-mother. The two became very close. She died of liver cancer in December 2001. His adoptive mother committed suicide in 1992.

Mr. Kahrmann has been involved in the field of brain injury for nearly 20 years.    He has been a writer and freelance journalist for well over 30 years, having published news, features, and columns for a range of publications, including Ottaway Newspapers and Vermont’s Bennington Banner. He began the widely read Kahrmann Blog in December 2006. For several years he wrote a column for the national disability newspaper, Independence Today, short stories, and, as he puts it, “the occasional poem.”

He is close to finishing a memoir, lives in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, is a devoted fan of hockey’s New York Rangers, and lives with his dog,  Rascal. He loves exercise, nature, comedy (his own and others), friendship, kindness, hiking, camping, biking, a wide range of music, good conversation,  and, not surprisingly, reading, with a special fondness for Dickens, Trollope, Anna Quindlen, James Salter, J.G. Farrell, Edith Wharton, Jon Dos Passos, Steinbeck and more.

8 thoughts on “About Peter

  1. Hello dear Peter. The year is 1999 and Northeast Center for Special Care is ramping up and I was the little whirlwind medical secretary trying to keep Gerry Brooks in his place when he asked me to find you and Dominic and ??? . You look well. Hope you are happy. Love the blog. Thank Lorraine for posting it on FB.

    Deb Lawrence
    Red Hook

  2. Hi peter, glad to see you are still out there. On this end, recovering from a long illness,
    Lori Meyer

  3. Hi Peter
    I have read many of your articles in Independence Today. I guess I have the kind of ptsd you spoke about. It is always with me. It was a relief in a way to read your words. I don’t know anyone else that has this kind of ptsd but I can identify what you went through, the fear and sweating, my heart races and I don’t usually see it coming. It is kind of a freight train. I receive Independence Today through an agency that assists my 23yr old son whom has significant autism. After I read the article, I guess I just wish I had someone to talk to that understands what happens. I have gone to counseling but when I read about your real life experiences it helps. I guess it made me feel less embarrassed, like this happens and there are reasons for it, even though I wish I could make it never happen again, be stronger. My dogs help me a great deal also. Great article – thank you.

  4. Hello Peter
    I just read your most recent article in Independence Today. I’m delighted that it came out before the election and hope that it will force some still undecided (how can that be) and waivering voters away from Donald Trump. I agree with everything you said about him. Like you, I also supported Bernie Sanders. I even begged him to consider an independent run after he did not gain the Democratic party presidential nomination, and would happily have voted for him and actively campaigned for him if he had decided to do so. I don’t like or trust Hillary Clinton at all, but the idea of a Donald Trump presidency is almost enough to make me physically ill and it terrifies me. The man, I believe, is evil and I whole heartedly agree with your insightful vision of what he might be capable of doing. It is up to the voters now, but thank you so much for your attempt to stir them away from Donald Trump.I hope with all my heart that it works. God bless.

  5. Hi Peter, I enjoyed your post about the “The fix is in” TBI waiver complaints.

    It was on point and helpful to me as I spent a week trying to find out what the complaint process actually was and how to advocate on some issues.

    Eventually I found out what the fair hearing process was for a complaint about the complaint process.

    There is none, because you can’t have a fair hearing about the complaint process.

    So I kept looking…read a bunch of redacted cases of the same issue…then I read your post…confirmation from a fellow TBI!

    So rather than waste any more of my cognition on this matter…I wrote a nice, friendly email to RRDS and basically told them I would no longer help them cherry pick answers
    for my complaint and their “investigation” because the process is unfair, a waste of tax dollars, not my job and I need my cognition for more important things like staying alert when I cross the street.

    The only I power I had, is what I used (I don’t have to participate in the cherry picking because my complaint is a complaint of the complaint process and that’s tied to the original complaint, so…you can’t make me…nananana …”therefore, furthermore and whatever”



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