Celebrating the employment of citizens with disabilities, County Executive Barry Glassman, the Department of Community Services and the Commission on Disabilities honored several individuals and organizations at Harford County’s Disabilities Employment Awards Luncheon on October 29 at the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in Bel Air. More than 120 guests attended the annual event, which honors people with disabilities who are valued employees and have overcome obstacles in their lives. The event also recognizes employers, families, friends and organizations that are changing attitudes about employees with disabilities in the workforce. This year’s theme was Expect. Employ. Empower.
Harford County resident Johnny Hudson was the guest speaker, captivating the crowd with his personal experiences and the challenges he faced seeking employment as a person with disabilities. Hudson was born without arms and with only one short leg and a foot. Yet, the married father of two sons continues to pursue his dreams. Hudson drives a specially modified car and holds a doctorate in theology from Andersonville Baptist Seminary. He is employed at the nonprofit Image Center of Maryland as a peer outreach associate, and he is in demand as a motivational speaker. Hudson was also appointed by County Executive Glassman as a member of the Harford County Commission on Disabilities. The Commission advocates for citizens with disabilities by addressing issues including employment, accessible services, affordable housing, and reliable transportation.
“All of our 2015 award winners are an inspiration,” said County Executive Barry Glassman. “Their work demonstrates that by providing opportunities for all citizens to achieve their individual goals, we also strengthen our families and communities.”
Awards and certificates were given to the following individuals and organizations for 2015:
- Employer of the Year, Royal Farms
- Small Employer of the Year, Broom’s Bloom Dairy
- Employee of the Year Award, Joe Kammerer, employed by Northeastern Plumbing.
- Student Worker of the Year Award, Tyree Gibson, employed by Broom’s Bloom Dairy and Harford County Public Schools
- The Ruth Helen Thompson Community Service Award, Jackie Angerhofer, for her lifelong dedication to furthering employment for people with disabilities.
- The Media Award, Karen Frances, as producer of the abiliTV show which highlights the accomplishments and struggles of people with disabilities in Harford County.
- Volunteer of the Year Award, Eileen Cox for her volunteer efforts with the University of Maryland Harford County Extension Office.
Employee Awards of Merit were also given to Erica Owens, employed by Gabriel Brothers; Andrew Vaughan, employed by Water’s Edge Conference Center; and Victoria Lashley and Brian Seling, employed by Harford County Public Library.
A Student Worker Award of Merit was given to Justin Hayden, who works at Outback Steakhouse and Harford County Public Schools.
A Volunteer Merit Award was presented to Joseph Harter who volunteers at The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, the Havre de Grace Elks and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Academy.
“Community support has been outstanding for this year’s Disabilities Employment Awards luncheon. Our guests left with a deeper understanding of the need to eliminate barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities,” said Amber Shrodes, director of Harford County Community Services.
The Harford County Department of Community Services and its partners offer 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 on employment opportunities, tax credits or other available incentives for businesses that hire individuals with disabilities, please contact Rachel Harbin, director of the Harford County Commission on Disabilities at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-638-3373.