Individuals, organizations honored for assisting disabled

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Southeast Missouri Alliance for Disability Independence 2004 Barrier Freedom Awards Banquet took place at Drury Lodge recently.

Robert Wardron, recipient of the volunteer of the year award, was selected for his "investment of valuable time, energy and commitment to helping SADI with various projects" including the most recent annual yard sale.

Grace Lutheran Church was honored for its commitment to making Southeast Missouri an accessible region for people with disabilities.

Accommodations included the handicapped accessibility to the church's school hall, addition of a handicapped ramp, handicapped parking, large print songbooks and updating the sound system to make services and activities accessible to all.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson was recognized as legislator of the year for attentiveness to the needs and efforts of disability advocates in the state of Missouri and for support through passage of the prescription drug bill and medical issues affecting individuals with disabilities.

Richard Bueltemann, SADI employee of the year, was recognized for his dependability, valuable insight and service to the transportation program and all programs.

John and Leslie McDaniels, employers of the year, were selected for their commitment in hiring individuals with disabilities and "treating them equally in allowing them to hold meaningful rather than menial positions."

Westfield Shoppingtown West Park received the retailer of the year award for providing commitment through customer service, a path of least restriction for shoppers, more than adequate handicapped parking and handicapped-accessible restrooms. The front entrance was noted for its improved accessibility. Staff members were identified for their professional sensitivity to customers and their needs.

Chris Pagano received the media award for "sincere and ongoing efforts to educate the public on the challenges experienced by people with disabilities in the Faces and Places section of the Southeast Missourian, a valuable format to educate the community while eliminating negative and sterotypical behavior directed toward all individuals with disabilities."

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