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Howard County’s Commission on Disability Issues announces 2017 award recipients

September 18, 2017

Media Contacts
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Michelle Henry, ADA Coordinator, Department of Community Resources and Services, 410-313-6431 (Voice/Relay)

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman and the Howard County Commission on Disability Issues today announced the winners of the county’s 23rd annual Awards Program. The program honors the outstanding efforts of individuals and organizations that advance full participation in community life for all people and promote the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability rights laws. 
“This year’s award recipients are committed to the spirit of inclusivity, and are being recognized and honored for their significant contributions to improving the lives of people with disabilities,” said Kittleman. 
This year’s award winners are:
Employer Award: Ledo Pizza of Columbia – Ledo Pizza of Columbia demonstrates inclusive hiring practices and utilizes workplace accommodations that foster employee growth and independence. Ledo Pizza of Columbia is recognized for valuing employee diversity and inclusion, and for its commitment to advancing workplace opportunities and advancement possibilities for people with disabilities.  
Employer Award: The Outer Office – The Outer Office has demonstrated success in accommodating the needs of its employees and in valuing their contributions. The Outer Office is recognized for its commitment to inclusion; and, as evidenced by its hiring, accommodations and retention practices, for providing equal opportunities to employees with disabilities.
Service Award: Dawn Trakney – Dawn Trakney has mentored, coached and trained dozens of Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) students with disabilities participating in the school system’s Work-Study and Transition program. As a HCPSS Board of Education mailroom employee, Ms. Trakney identifies the strengths of her mentees and builds 
accommodations into the workplace to enable them to succeed. Ms. Trakney has demonstrated her commitment to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities by advocating for and supporting workplace diversity and integration, while respecting the individual right to self-determination.
Individual Achievement Award (Youth): Will Alexion – After completing a year-long Project Search internship with Howard County Government, Will Alexion was hired by the County’s Department of Inspections, Licences and Permits as an Administrative Assistant. Mr. Alexion has served as student member for the Commission for Transitioning Students with Disabilities. He is also engaged in sports and community activities. Mr. Alexion is recognized for his achievements as a role model in employment and community advocacy.
Individual Achievement Award (Adult): Christa Bucks Camacho – Christa Bucks Camacho has spent years working on issues to improve the quality of life for people living in poverty, for children and for people with disabilities. As a strong advocate for equal rights for people with disabilities, Ms. Camacho is committed to the values of inclusion. Ms. Camacho is recognized for achieving success as a role model and leader in community advocacy, advancing full participation of all people in community life and promoting the spirit of inclusivity. 
Individual Achievement Award (Adult): Nicholas Stewart – Since 1997, Nicholas Stewart has participated with Special Olympics Maryland as a multi-sport athlete. Mr. Stewart has received numerous accolades for his sportsmanship, leadership and athletic abilities, and is an active community participant and advocate. He also currently serves as the Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run Athlete Ambassador. Through his efforts, Mr. Stewart strives to raise awareness about disability issues. He is recognized as a role model and leader in athletics and community advocacy, and for his commitment to advancing full participation in community life for all people.
In addition to this year’s award recipients, the following employers are recognized for their efforts to build inclusive workforces: Eggspectation; Food Lion of Scaggsville; Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits; Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning; Weis Market of Woodstock; and ZIPS Dry Cleaners of Scaggsville.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an observance created to spread awareness about disability employment issues, promote inclusion and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. 
Honorees will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Thursday, October 5, at 7:00 p.m. at the Roger Carter Community Center, 3000 Milltowne Drive in Ellicott City. The event will feature guest speaker, Staci Jones. Ms. Jones is the Statewide Career and Employment Services Coordinator with the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration. 
The event is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited. To RSVP and/or to request accommodations, contact Erica Lewis at 410-313-6402 (voice/relay) or by Thursday, September 28.