Nominations sought for Disability Awareness Awards

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Nominations are being accepted for The Resource Center’s 29th annual Disability Awareness and Recognition Awards.

Every year, people with disabilities in Chautauqua County make tremendous strides in their quest to lead productive, meaningful lives. And every day, they are supported in their efforts by a wide segment of the community that appreciates and values the contributions those with disabilities can make, if given a chance.

Recipients of TRC’s 2016 Disability Awareness Awards: from left, sitting, are, Ke-Khee Greenough, Mental Health Award; Sandra Clark, Volunteer of the Year; Kelly Sullivan of Fastenal, Community Support Award; Sharon Buesink, Advocate of the Year; and Rhonda Scott, Community Service Award; and, standing, Thomas Whitney and Velvet Lisa of Southern Tier Meadows, the Employer of the Year; Tyler Shaw, Outstanding Achievement Award; Chris Riel, Success of the Year; Gregory Slagle, NYSID Outstanding Performer; and Deanna DeGolier and Debbie Spinner from Southern Tier Meadows.  Missing is Willow Taft, Health Provider of the Year.

Recipients of TRC’s 2016 Disability Awareness Awards: from left, sitting, are, Ke-Khee Greenough, Mental Health Award; Sandra Clark, Volunteer of the Year; Kelly Sullivan of Fastenal, Community Support Award; Sharon Buesink, Advocate of the Year; and Rhonda Scott, Community Service Award; and, standing, Thomas Whitney and Velvet Lisa of Southern Tier Meadows, the Employer of the Year; Tyler Shaw, Outstanding Achievement Award; Chris Riel, Success of the Year; Gregory Slagle, NYSID Outstanding Performer; and Deanna DeGolier and Debbie Spinner from Southern Tier Meadows. Missing is Willow Taft, Health Provider of the Year.

To recognize the efforts of people with disabilities and those who support them, The Resource Center and TRC Foundation each year hold a celebration to pay tribute to this deserving group by presenting the Disability Awareness and Recognition Awards. The public is encouraged to nominate people with disabilities whom they know, or people and organizations from the community that have had a positive impact on the lives of those with disabling conditions.

Nominations are being accepted in the following categories:

Advocate of the Year, recognizing extraordinary efforts in advocating for one’s own rights or the rights of other people with disabilities.

Bruce Walford Community Service Award, honoring a person who demonstrates the following characteristics: a commitment to the community; selflessness; the initiative and the ingenuity to forge forward and make things happen; and enthusiasm and exuberance that inspire others. This award was established in memory of the late Bruce “Wally” Walford, who was the manager of TRC’s Dunkirk Work Center Program.

Business/Employer of the Year, recognizing an employer that has improved the availability, accessibility and quality of integrated employment for people with disabilities.

Community Support Award, given to a person, service group or business that has provided unique opportunities and experiences to people with disabilities.

Edwin W. Roth Memorial Award, recognizing a person with a behavioral health challenge, an advocate, an agency, a professional, or a community member, that has supported efforts to improve the lives of people with mental illness or substance abuse challenges. This award is named in honor of the late Ed Roth, a New York State Office of Mental Health official who was a strong advocate for people with mental illness.

Elmer Muench Volunteer of the Year, honoring a person who has donated time, talents and/or expertise toward improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. Volunteer service could include interacting directly with persons with disabilities, assisting with special events, or serving on a board or committee. This award is named in honor of the late Elmer Muench of Fredonia, a longtime volunteer and advocate for people with disabilities.

Health Provider of the Year, honoring an entity or professional that has enhanced the lives of people with disabilities by providing outstanding health services.

Outstanding Achievement, saluting a person challenged by a severe disability who has made significant advancements in the areas of personal skills, community integration or contributions to society.

Success of the Year, praising an individual challenged by a disability who has achieved his or her goals in the areas of community integration and/or employment.

Nominees do not have to be affiliated with The Resource Center. A selection committee composed of community volunteers will decide which nominees are most deserving of the awards.

Nominations will be accepted until August 16. Each nomination must include a narrative explaining why the nominee is deserving of an award, including examples of how the nominee has positively impacted people with disabilities. Click here to submit an online nomination,

If you want a nomination form sent to you, phone Victoria Trass Bardo at 661-1477. Nominations can be mailed to the Awards Planning Committee, c/o The Resource Center, 200 Dunham Avenue, Jamestown, NY, 14701. Nominations also can be faxed to 485-4612.

The awards will be presented at the Disability Awareness Awards Celebration on Monday, October 16, at the L:akewood Rod and Gun Club.

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