(Posted March 21, 2016)
Riding off into the sunset.
For the past four decades, Jim Canney has gone to work each day to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Beginning as a teacher at Fairhaven School in the 1970s, the current Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) superintendent will conclude his tenure in June. He has led the agency for the past 28 years.
On March 10, Canney’s fierce commitment to being a champion for people with disabilities was recognized as he received the Dorothy Allison Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named for MCBDD’s founder, who Canney followed into the superintendency. The presentation capped off the board’s 26th annual appreciation awards, coinciding with March’s statewide DD Awareness Month.
In an appropriate display of that commitment, Canney shared his spotlight with Willie Artis and Sam Elliott, two men who were students in his classroom his first year of teaching. A video presentation was also shown in Canney’s honor.
Additionally, the second annual Judge Glenn S. Hamilton Leadership Award was presented. Named in recognition of Hamilton’s 30 years of judicial leadership, the award was given to MCBDD consumer Nick Post, an individual who represents exemplary character through his employment at Cappy’s Pizza.
The appreciation banquet, held at Fairhaven School with an enthusiastic crowd numbering more than 200 strong, honored individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of people with disabilities.
With the DD Awareness Month theme, “What is Your Story,” as a background, a number of individual stories were represented as the annual recognition awards were presented. MCBDD management team members Carol Ansel, Mike Mast and Susan Thompson introduced each recipient with words from the winners’ nominators. Board President Diane Miller-Ryan and Sue Hackett, filling in for State Senator Bob Hackett, assisted with distributing the awards.
The consumer awards went to adult enrollees Britney Eades, Dale Jones and Marlyn Zeeck. They were acknowledged for serving as role models for others with disabilities.
Earning staff recognition were MCBDD staff members A.J. Bush, Jenn Coleman, Scott Duffey, Jeff Gates, Randy Redding, Melody Williams and Denise Zerkle.
Tina Fluor was applauded for assisting her son as he continues to thrive in the workforce.
Megan Ballard, Lisa Barnett, Geoff DeLong, Jessica Rutherford and Paula Weeter were thanked for their individual efforts as service providers for individuals with disabilities. Sharyn Koelling was recognized for her long career of commitment to others through MATCO Services.
Rounding out the individual awards were the Women of the Moose Lodge, The Madison Press, JJW Contracting, Wal-Mart, and Mad River Mountain in the category of Organization/Agency.
All in attendance enjoyed a meal catered by Cappy’s Pizza and made possible through sponsorship from Madison County Community Housing and Friends of Fairhaven.