(Posted April 11, 2019)
Madison County resident David Ridenour served two terms, 30 years apart, as a member of the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD).
As a father of a son with disabilities, Ridenour saw firsthand the impact that can be made by and for people with challenges.
On March 21, with his son, Phillip, at his side, Ridenour accepted the Dorothy Allison Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of advocacy. The award is named after MCBDD’s founder. The presentation capped off the 29th Annual Appreciation Awards which coincided with statewide recognition of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
“Mr. Ridenour has dedicated his life to his son and doing what he can to improve the lives of people with disabilities,” said MCBDD Superintendent Susan Thompson. “He has been a great asset to this community.”
Also presenting awards were MCBDD Board President Ted Slanker, State Rep. Bill Dean, and Jeff Davis, newly appointed director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. It was the new director’s first visit to Madison County.
“It was an honor to have Director Davis join us for the event,” Thompson said. “He is all about the folks we serve and improving their lives.”
The 5th Annual Judge Glenn S. Hamilton Leadership Award went to MCBDD consumer Bridget Gray who has obtained a community job, while also serving as the primary caregiver for her father. The award is named in recognition of Hamilton’s 30 years of judicial leadership.
“It has been wonderful to see the way Bridget has responded as her personal and work responsibilities have increased,” Thompson said. “Over the past five years, she has made quite a transformation.”
The Consumer Award went to Chad Burks for excelling at his janitorial job and his commitment to a variety of Special Olympics sports.
Caternia Pierce earned staff recognition. Serving as a Special Olympics volunteer for several years with a son who has disabilities, Pierce has created new opportunities for individuals served by MCBDD through her role as recreation coordinator.
Bev and Luke Headings were applauded for the gifts of support and advocacy they supply to their son, Parker, and daughter, Iris, both of whom have disabilities.
When some individuals with disabilities were changing their housing locations, Seth Downing provided assistance.
The Madison County Board of Elections was honored for instituting a program through which people with disabilities were trained to work the polls on Election Day this past November.
In the area of advocacy, London High School junior Aubrey Cline excelled. Her friendly nature and compassion was exemplified through her assistance with high school students with disabilities.
London Christian Fellowship was lauded for its Wheelchair Ramp Ministry, as it silently and unselfishly assisted individuals served by MCBDD.
For its unending commitment to make the Christmas holidays brighter for Madison County children with disabilities, Columbus’s Beightler Armory received the Celebrating Community Inclusion Award.
In its third year, MCBDD’s Hero Award highlights individuals who provided assistance in difficult situations. Dr. J.J. Coate of Sunnyside Veterinary Clinic assisted an elderly individual with disabilities
MCBDD recognized 10 staff members who have achieved 20-plus years of service locally to individuals with disabilities. They include Carol Ansel, Julie Anthony, Annette Clevenger, Brenda Fitch, Jeff Gates, Keith Hatem, Mike Mast, Gretchen Peters, Vicki Thompson, and Melody Williams.
Zayne Harshaw, the leader behind the Blue Spectrum Band, entertained prior to the awards presentations. Harshaw, a man with autism, showed his skills on the electric guitar.
Additionally, the crowd of more than 200 enjoyed a meal catered by Cappy’s Pizza.