June 13, 2009
DEMOCRAT STAFF REPORT
The Able Trust joined Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp Friday to honor individuals and organizations that work to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The 2009 Ability Awards ceremony was held at the Golden Eagle Country Club.
“The Able Trust is honored to have partners in our mission who are devoted and passionate about making a difference,” said Susanne Homant, president and CEO of The Able Trust.
The 16 awards given recognize efforts that help The Able Trust fulfill its mission to help people with disabilities get trained and working, and to remain or become productive members of their communities.
“It certainly was a surprise to be selected,” said Paul Martell, who received the 2009 Public Employee of the Year honor. Martell is the accessibility program manager at the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, which administers the AmeriCorps programs in Florida.
Martell’s work involves identifying and promoting opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in AmeriCorps, assisting them with training and arranging for accommodations they may need. His office has worked with The Able Trust for 11 years on projects of mutual interest.
“I really think that the relationship between our two organizations has been nothing but positive,” he said.
Other Tallahassee winners were J.R. Harding, program specialist in the Department of Education’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, who was Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year; and Florida Public Radio and News Director Tom Flanigan, who received the Media Award.
Since 1990, The Able Trust has awarded more than $24 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout Florida for employment-related purposes, enabling thousands of individuals with disabilities to enter the workforce each year.
The 2009 Ability Award recipients are:
Donna Fassett of ARC Gateway – Dr. George Spelios Leadership Award Panhandle BLN – Business Leadership Network Site of the Year
J. R. Harding – Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year Paul Martell – Public Employee of the Year Florida Public Radio and Tom Flanigan – Media Award
State Sen. Stephen R. Wise – Legislator of the Year
Florida Crown Workforce Board – High School High-Tech Program of the Year University of Florida – Business Mentor of the Year W. Drew Andrews – Volunteer of the Year
Mark Kamleiter – Small Business of the Year State Rep. Will Weatherford – Legislator of the Year
Lockheed Martin and Roxane Macgillivray – Large Employer of the Year
West Palm Beach
Gratitude House Inc. – Beverly Chapman Award Don Chester – Adult Leadership Award Fonda Lee – Gala Fundraiser of the Year Anthony LaCava – Youth Leadership Award
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