ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Commission on Disabilities (CoD) celebrate the winners of the CoD’s 2023 Disability Awards. The event, held at the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center, honored 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 (ADA) and other disability rights laws. Pictures from the event can be found here.  

In Howard County, we understand the importance of a diverse workforce that reflects our community and is inclusive of employees with disabilities. This year’s winners have made significant contributions to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Thanks to their efforts, Howard County continues to be recognized as a model community, where all are welcome and able to live a full life. Employment is empowering and it is through the removal of economic and other societal barriers that we can achieve equity.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

This year’s theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is “Advancing Access and Equity.” This year’s award winners are:

Employer Award: BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Columbia, for its efforts to build an inclusive workforce for people with disabilities.

Service Awards: Lamont Edwards, a manager at Pete Pappas and Sons, Inc., for their efforts to empower individuals with disabilities to live self-directed, meaningful lives.

Tamara Layne, a speech/language pathologist in the Howard County Public Schools System, for their efforts to empower individuals with disabilities to live self-directed, meaningful lives.

Accessibility Awards: Howard County Department of Public Works, Bureau of Facilities, Design and Construction Division, for its efforts to provide accessible, user-friendly restrooms in County Government buildings.

Merriweather Post Pavilion, an outdoor entertainment venue in downtown Columbia, for its efforts to provide welcoming and accessible outdoor concert opportunities.

Individual Achievement Award – Youth: Alex Morales, a student at Oakland Mills High School, for their efforts to change attitudes regarding the capabilities of people with disabilities.

Individual Achievement Award – Adult: Regina Lee, an advocate and community leader, for their effort to change attitudes regarding the capabilities of people with disabilities.

The CoD presents these awards every October during NDEAM, which was created to spread awareness about disability employment issues, promote inclusion and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. Each year, the U.S. Department of Labor conducts a national campaign observing NDEAM. In addition to this year’s award winners, the CoD also recognizes the following three employers for their efforts to build inclusive workforces: Brookfield Christian School, Hope Love Shine and Sodexo Government Services.

The 2023 awards event featured a panel discussion, “Living Life Well with a Disability,” moderated by Kim McKay, assistant secretary of programs for the Maryland Department of Disabilities, with panelists that represent a variety of disabilities, including: CoD members Karen Wood, Greg Schuckman Heidi Burghardt, Regina Lee, and Marian Vessels; and community members Karsten Scherer and Scott Wolfe.

The CoD was established by statute in 1988 to increase public awareness of disability-related issues; serve in an advisory capacity on County Government programs, policies, and budget; and assist County Government to ensure compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA of 1990. The commission’s mission is facilitated through the efforts of its members and its subcommittees.

For questions about this awards program, contact Erica Lewis at 410-313-6402 (voice/relay) or email ealewis@howardcountymd.gov.

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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