Harford County’s Office of Disability Services and Commission on Disabilities honored several individuals and organizations at their annual Employment Recognition Luncheon on October 23 at the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in Bel Air. More than 140 guests attended this inspiring event honoring employees with disabilities who have exhibited exceptional skills and determination in the workplace. The event also recognizes employers, families, friends and organizations that are changing attitudes about people with disabilities in the workforce. Harford County holds this event each October to coincide with National Disability Employment Month.
This year the theme was “America’s Workforce: Empowering All” and keynote speaker Tia Timpson of the Harford Mutual Insurance Company moved the audience with her extraordinary strength, determination, and story of triumph over the challenges of her disability. After a massive, life-threatening stroke during her sophomore year of college, Tia fought her way back through rigorous rehabilitation and several surgeries. She not only learned to walk again, she completed college and studied abroad in South Africa for four months. She earned an associate’s degree in accounting and finance, a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in accounting and financial management. Tia said, “What tried to defeat me did not beat me.” Tia is now employed full-time at Harford Mutual Insurance Company in the Accounting and Treasury departments.
Awards were presented to the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement and support of those with differing abilities for 2018:
• Large Employer of the Year Award: Professional Sports Catering
• Medium Employer of the Year Award: Tidewater Grille
• Small Employer of the Year Award: Newberry Café and Bakery
• Employees of the Year Award: Charles Barnett, employed by Bel Air Health and Rehabilitation Center; Audrey Fung, employed by Harford County Public Library; and William Sheffield, employed by APG Base Supply Center
• Student Worker of the Year Award: Brian Hansel, employed by Harford County Public Schools at Bel Air and William Paca elementary schools.
• Media Award: Kristy Breslin, WJZ-TV
• The Ruth Helen Thompson Community Service Award: Dr. Susan Austin, director of special education for Harford County Public Schools
Awards of merit were given, including the Large Employer of Merit Award presented to ShopRite of Aberdeen. Employee awards of merit were given to Sharon Boone, employed by Gordon’s Food Service, Inc.; Taylor Jones, employed by Plastipak; Nick Kadel, employed by Chimes/APG; Tim Koermer, employed by On-the-Spot Detailing; Tiffany Norris, employed by Mason-Dixon Community Services; Craig Thompson, employed by Harford County Circuit Court. Additionally, Jasmine Morgan, employed by Pro-Sports Catering, received the Student Worker Award of Merit.
“Local businesses that have hired citizens with differing abilities have witnessed the extraordinary asset that they can be to a business,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “I would like to thank all of them, and our Office of Disability Services and Commission on Disabilities, for their dedication to this cause. Together we will continue to be proactive until every man, woman and child of all abilities in Harford County can achieve their goals, whether it is learning to ride a bike, playing baseball, or finding their dream job.”
The Harford County Office of Disability Services and its partners offer an array of programs to connect businesses with motivated, dependable staff, and to connect employees with disabilities to on-the-job training, modification and technology assistance. For more information about employment opportunities, tax credits or other available incentives for businesses that hire individuals with disabilities, please contact Rachel Harbin, manager of the Harford County Office of Disability Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-638- 3373.