MR/DD banquet lauds excellence

Rose Jackson and Cora Russell were honored for their lifetime commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities at the recent annual Madison County Board of MR/DD Appreciation Awards held at Fairhaven School. On hand for the presentation were: (from left) State Representative Chris Widener, MR/DD Board President Tonya Keaton, honoree Rose Jackson, Ohio Department of MR/DD Director John Martin, honoree Cora Russell, and MR/DD Superintendent Jim Canney.
A quartet of men who receive services from the Madison County Board of MR/DD were among the recipients at the organization’s annual Appreciation Awards, recently held at Fairhaven School. The awardees were: (from left) Roy Austin, Kenny Banks, Shawn Engle and Doug Ball. 

Helping people with disabilities to succeed by encouraging opportunities has been the life work of both Rose Jackson and Cora Russell.

Jackson, a parent of two sons with disabilities, has been active with the Madison County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MR/DD) since its inception. During the past several decades, Jackson also has served the roles of Fairhaven School employee and volunteer.

Likewise, Russell has been a lifetime advocate for individuals with disabilities through her past work at the MATCO Adult Workshop, as well as previous service as a Madison County Board of MR/DD board member.

On March 18, that commitment was honored as Jackson and Russell were each presented with the Dorothy Allison Lifetime Achievement Award. Named after Madison County Board of MR/DD’s founder, the award was the highlight of the 18th annual appreciation awards, coinciding with March’s statewide MR/DD Awareness Month.

In addition, State Representative Chris Widener presented the Lifetime Award recipients with proclamations from the Ohio House of Representatives, while Mark Mason presented a similar citation on behalf of State Senator Steve Austria.

The event, held at Fairhaven School with a crowd numbering more than 300, honored those individuals and agencies that have dedicated themselves to improv-ing the lives of people with disabilities.

On hand for the festivities was special guest John Martin, director of the Ohio Department of MR/DD. A parent of a son with disabilities, Martin voiced the respect he has for those who make various contributions to this field.

"It’s the relationship you have with people with disabilities. You make them feel safe, feel accepted," Martin said. "On behalf of all of the families who receive services, thank you."

Superintendent Jim Canney introduced the remaining award recipients with words from the winners’ nominators. MR/DD Board President Tonya Keaton assisted with distributing the awards. Widener also had a citation for each awardee.

Consumer awards went to adult enrol-lees Roy Austin, Kenny Banks, Shawn Engle and Doug Ball. Austin was acknowl-edged for his state-recognized artwork. Banks was honored for his contributions to the MR/DD Health and Safety Committee. Engle was recognized for his newfound love for participation in Special Olympics. Ball was commended for his personal strides and positive attitude.

Earning staff recognition were Fair-haven School Food Services Director Melonie Fisher, MR/DD Family Support Services Director Carol Ansel, and Fairhaven School instructor’s assistant Marlene Toops.

Several individuals were recognized in the Parent/Family category:

o Samantha Lloyd serves as an advo-cate for her nephew who has a disability.

o Trudy Evans not only assists her daughter with cerebral palsy at MATCO, but other individuals as well.

o Having a disability has not deterred Marlyn Zeeck from being a successful working single mother of two boys.

o Milton Turner has served as a role model for his adult daughter with a disability.

o Although she has a son served by MR/DD, Teresa Campbell has been a volunteer "mom" to others in Special Olympics.

o London High School sophomore Aaron Ansel has provided invaluable peer support to his sister and her classmates within the Fairhaven class at LHS.

Madison County Hospital, Wilson Printing & Graphics, Battelle Memorial Institute, and Cogent Systems were organizations/agencies who all received awards for their work on behalf of people served by MR/DD. The hospital has supplied a supportive environment for the new work program, Project Search, Wilson Printing (particularly its owner, Tim Wilson) has been a long-time supporter of the MR/DD program. Battelle donated several computer systems to assist with education of children with disabilities. Cogent’s generosity has spanned from golf outing sponsor to a vast number of information technology donations.

MATCO Services’ Activity Coordinator Alice Kennedy, Tolles Career & Technical Center Broadcast Video instructor Steve Neumann, Attorney Renae Zabloudil, and Certified Public Accountant Mike Quilter were honored for their commitment to heightening the public’s awareness about the contributions of individuals with disabilities.

Independent Home Provider Tracy Hatfield, Champaign Residential Services Inc. Program Specialist Craig Burns, Madison County Schools’ Work Study Coordinator Cyndi Smith, and West Jefferson Middle School educators Cheri Leffel and Angie Nawman were recognized for their work with people with disabilities.

Rounding out the individual awards were the recognition of direct home care staff person Janice Riggle, London High School Living Skills instructor Melinda McKenzie, and Independent Home Provider Roberta Clevenger for their advocacy efforts.

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