Harford County Celebrates Employment of Citizens with Differing Abilities

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County Executive Bob Cassilly, back left, and Harford County Disabilities Coordinator Rachel Trovato, back right, join award recipients, (back row) from left, J’mari Boyd, Karen Delaney, Lattimore Thompson, Joshua Gaskins, Keynote Speaker Marcus Moore, Sofia Tumminello, Garon Hidey, Jaleal Fitzgerald, Vernell Lee, Catriana Mooney, and front row seated from left, Ashley Wines, Melissa Evans, Janice Stauffer, Nila Ledford, Allison Borsella, Patricia McBride, and Secretary Maryland Department of Disabilities Carol Beatty.

The Harford County Office of Disability Services and Commission on Disabilities celebrated the employment of citizens with disabilities by honoring several individuals and organizations at the annual Employment Recognition Luncheon on Wednesday, October 4 at the Richlin Catering and Event Center in Edgewood.

More than 100 guests attended this inspiring event honoring employees with disabilities who have exhibited exceptional ability and determination in the workplace. The event also recognizes employers, individuals, and organizations that are helping to change attitudes about people with disabilities in the workforce.

The event is held in October each year to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This year’s national theme was “Advancing Access & Equity.”

“We are proud to recognize the skills and outstanding contributions employees with differing abilities bring to our workforce and the local businesses and organizations who support these individuals,” Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly said. “Their dedication not only strengthens our community, it’s also a big part of what makes Harford County a place where all citizens can contribute and thrive.”

Keynote speaker Marcus Moore, owner, operator of Moore Crunch Pretzels delivered an inspirational speech stating, “We [people with differing abilities] want to grow and get better, just like everyone else. You would be surprised at what someone can do if you just give them a chance.”

Moore was accompanied by his mom, Kathy, aka Momma Crunch, who emphasized ability in the workplace by saying, “Even though someone has a disability, it doesn’t mean they can’t push through.”

Awards were presented to the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements and support of those with differing abilities for 2023:

• Large Employer of the Year Award: Sephora Distribution Center

• Medium Employer of the Year Award: Maryland Golf & Country Clubs

• Small Employer of the Year Award: Log Cabin Chocolates

• Employee of the Year Award: Patricia McBride, employed by Citizens Care Center

• Student Worker of the Year Award: Jaleal Fitzgerald, employed by Food Lion

• Volunteer of the Year Award: Garon Hidey

• The Ruth Helen Thompson Community Service Award: Janice Stauffer

Awards of Merit were also presented to the following: Large Employer Award of Merit, given to Burlington; Medium Employer of Merit, given to Aberdeen High School Food & Nutrition; Small Employer Award of Merit, given to the Shoe Dept.; Employee Awards of Merit, given to Ashley Wines, employed by GXO, and Lattimore Thompson, employed by Sephora; Student Worker Awards of Merit, given to Joshua Gaskins, employed by City Seeds Program and CVS, and Sofia Tumminello, employed by We Rock the Spectrum.

A photo gallery of this year’s event is available at: https://www.harfordcountymd.gov/3367/Disability-Employment-Awards

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, please contact Rachel Trovato, rntrovato@harfordcountymd.gov or 410-638-3373.

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