Awards ceremony celebrates Governor’s Committee success stories

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was on hand to congratulate the honorees at the recent statewide awards ceremony at the Alabama State Capitol.


he annual event is sponsored by the Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Ivey said state leaders are always looking for ways to provide more opportunities and a higher quality of life for Alabamians. She thanked ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw and others for making this year’s Governor’s

Job Fair for People with Disabilities a success and helping to meet the needs of people with disabilities.


one’s hard work, Ivey said, is opening the doors to more and more opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Employers statewide are recognizing the worth and value of employees with disabilities,” she said. “Each of us works to provide for our families and do the kind of work we enjoy and love, and people with disabilities are no different. As your governor, I don’t want any Alabamian to abandon their own dreams because of a disability.”

The ceremony was inspirational, Ivey said, because it shows what we can accomplish by working together.

Burdeshaw thanked Ivey for recognizing October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month and for being an advocate for people with disabilities. The job fair, which was launched two years ago, has grown each year. Burdeshaw s

aid it is encouraging to have leaders who care so much.


can tell it takes a village to work and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities,” she said. “I am proud to say that in the state of Alabama we have leadership that is willing to go the extra mile.”

Burdeshaw said she has a tremendous amount of admiration for those who were being honored.

“You said, ‘No matter what the obstacles that I can and I will succeed,’ ” she said. “ ‘I will achieve my dreams, I will be educated, I will go to work and I will be a full member of my community.’ ”


rees included:

  • Sarah “Gail” Smith, Advocate of the Year Award
  • Cynthia Connor of Jacksonville State University, Dr. Suzanne Lacey of Talladega Schools, Trevor Kribbs of the Alabama School for the Blind, and Dr. Sandra Ware of the Helen Keller School, Collaboration Award
  • Cynthia Stanley, Educator of the Year Award
  • Ethan Major, Large Business Employee of the Year Award
  • Lodge, Large Business Employer of the Year Award
  • Lori Miller of WHNT, Media Award
  • Jeff Crenshaw of the Personnel Board of Jefferson County, Partnership Award
  • Cullman City Councilman Johnny Cook, Public Service Award
  • Brandon Wilson, Small Business Employee of the Year Award
  • Shan Bell of Tony Serra Nissan of Cullman, Small Business Employer of the Year Award
  • Whitney Stephens, Student of the Year Award
  • Mark Stephen Lanzi, Youth Leadership Award

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