Residents honored for work with disabled
By Matt Caulder
Published in News on October 18, 2013 1:46 PM
Pictured are, back row from left: StewardSmith, Dwayne Kenner, Jimmy O'Neal, Anthony Barnes and Michael Pendergraft; front row: Paul Bartlett, Jim Martin, Bob Lethco, Roy Cantey, Jim Mullen and Linda Priestley
City, county and military officials shared lunch with service organizations for the disabled as well as people with disabilities Thursday at Herman Park Center at the city's Disabilities Awards Luncheon.
The annual event is held to honor people and organizations involved with the disabled.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
The awards were presented by the Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities, which is dedicated to expanding opportunities for disabled people in the area.
The luncheon opened with comments from Wayne County Commission Chairman Steve Keen.
"You guys here in this room have taken adversity and turned it into opportunity," Keen said. "You have taken the light and driven out the darkness in Wayne County."
The Rev. Scott Broadaway, founder and coordinator of Wheels on Fire Disability Ministry, was the guest speaker at the event.
Broadway was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and has used a powered wheelchair since her was 3 years old.
He said he started Wheels on Fire in 2002 after realizing that while Jesus Christ was seated on his throne in heaven, that he was still active, still moving.
"I realized that his chair had wheels, too," Broadaway told the gathering.
His speech focused on what it takes to succeed as a disabled person. He said faith and drive were the keys for success for the disabled.
"Some of you may know my dad, but if you don't, 'I can't' did not exist in his house," Broadway said. "I was raised not to think about what I can't do, but how I can do."
The award for Employer of the Year went to Michael Pendergraft for his efforts to provide employment for disabled persons at his business, Carlie C's IGA.
"It's a super honor to work with these individuals. Just keep them coming," Pendergraft said.
Anthony Barnes with the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation was named Employee of the Year.
The Most Accessible Business of the Year Award went to Berkeley Mall for its entryways, benches, accessible bathrooms as well as family bathrooms and also for its automatic doors. Mall Manager Linda Priestley accepted the award on behalf of the mall.
The Committee Member of the Year Award went to Jim Mullen for his work with the media to get the word out about what the committee is doing.
The final award, the Mayor's Trophy, was presented to the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Protestant Men's Chapel Group by Col. Jeannie Leavitt, commander of the 4th Fighter Wing.
Chaplain Lt. Col. Dwayne Keener accepted the award on behalf of the group, which has been in operation for a decade. Several times a year, the group serves a meal at the Wayne Opportunity Center.
"I am blessed to inherit this. It's been going on for a long time," Keener said.