10/19/07 — Committee honors employer, volunteer, worker at banquet

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Committee honors employer, volunteer, worker at banquet

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 19, 2007 1:46 PM

Vick Woodard didn't let a disability stop him from having a full life, and at Thursday's annual awards luncheon for the Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities, he described how determination can overcome all odds.

Woodard, an instructor at Wayne Community College, was born with cerebral palsy. But his family would not accept that he could not lead a normal life and pushed him to learn to walk. At the age of 2, he was sent to a special hospital for therapy. When his family came to visit, they found him walking, albeit with braces and crutches.

Today, Woodard walks without help. He said he wanted others in the audience to know that handicaps can be overcome, if the person has the grit and desire to do so. It was a long road for Woodard but after his last surgery in 1970, he received steel pins in his legs that enabled him to walk without crutches.

His message was simple: Never give up hope.

"I'm simply one individual among hundreds who were fortunate enough to have received the absolute best care available at precisely the right moments in life, from the right people," Woodard said.

Now, going strong at 52, he is proud to say that he has a college degree, a wonderful wife, two children and a grandchild on the way -- but more than that, his story showed those in the room that they could be successful despite having to overcome a disability.

Many others in attendance already knew that.

The committee gave out four awards to people who have worked to overcome their disabilities as well as to people who have helped others in their attempts to do so.

County Commissioner Atlas Price started out the awards ceremony by stating his admiration for disabled people everywhere.

"My hat is off to those with disabilities," Price said. "Those of us who are healthy, we have no right to complain. I have all the admiration for what you deal with every day."

Target was named the Employer of the Year. Price said the store works toward recognizing a different group of people every month, and this month, they recognize disabled people. He also commended officials with the business for having seven employees with disabilities, including two managers. The company should be commended for its willingness to give the disabled a chance to prove that they can work just as well as any other employees, he said.

Silas Czeiner was named Employee of the Year. Czeiner was a part-time food bagger at Key Foods who was nominated for his reliability and dependability by his employer.

John Chance, chairman of the committee, was named Committee Member of the Year. Chance said he would accept the award but credited other members of the organization for its success.

The Mayor's Trophy award went to Richard Walderman, who oversees the Special Olympics in the Wayne County area.