Celebrating a lifetime of service.
Over his many years as a Madison County Commissioner, David Dhume has been an ally to Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD).
On Thursday, March 15, Dhume’s decades of advocacy was recognized as he was awarded the prestigious Dorothy Allison Lifetime Achievement Award. Named after Madison County Board of DD’s founder, that presentation capped off a memorable night at the 28th annual appreciation awards, coinciding with March’s statewide DD Awareness Month.
“Commissioner Dhume has been a good friend of Madison County Board of DD for a number of years,” said Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Susan Thompson. “We appreciate the support he has given for both the individuals we serve and the services we offer.”
In addition to Superintendent Thompson, awards were presented by Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities Board President Ted Slanker, and State Rep. Bill Dean. Sue Hackett stood in for her husband, State Sen. Bob Hackett.
The special guest for the evening was Bridget Gargan, CEO of the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACBDD).
“We were so honored to have Ms. Gargan to join us for this event,” Thompson said. “We appreciate the support of OACBDD in what we do as a county board here in Madison County.”
The fourth annual Judge Glenn S. Hamilton Leadership Award was also presented. Named in recognition of Hamilton’s 30 years of judicial leadership, the award was given to Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities consumer Micheal Elfrink who has excelled in Special Olympics, his community job, and through his independence in finding a residence of his own.
“Mike has shown great self-advocacy in all aspects of his life,” Thompson said. “He is a shining example of the great things being done by people in our community with disabilities.”
The event, held at Fairhaven School with an enthusiastic crowd numbering close to 300 strong, honored those individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of people with disabilities. In the evening’s format, one winner was chosen in each category among those nominated.
The Consumer Award went to Eric Stedding. He was acknowledged for his work ethic with holding two jobs, as well as his kindness and compassion toward others.
Earning staff recognition were the individuals who work within the Fairhaven Elementary classroom. Dana Beckwith, Melissa Cutlip, Mallory Hicks, and Suzette Moran were recognized for the caring way in which they serve their students.
As an advocate for their son, Doug, who has disabilities, the Forrest family was applauded. Doug’s father Mark has been a voice of support in local government, mother Sally has served on various committees, and his sister Kristen helps young people flourish as the leader of West Jefferson High School’s multi-disabilities classroom.
Although most comfortable out of the spotlight, Independent Provider Cathy Goff’s great work with individuals with disabilities thrust her into it.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office was honored for its agency’s ongoing support of Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities in a number of capacities. They were represented by Matt McCann and John Swaney.
In the area of advocacy, Madison County Probate Judge Chris Brown was recognized for his support of individuals both with and without disabilities. It was pointed out that Judge Brown and his wife assist people in their community outside the parameters of his job.
To further make the public aware of the talents of people with disabilities, Madison County Special Olympics was honored. Long-known as a leader throughout the State of Ohio, this year the Tigers hosted the first-ever, state-sanctioned flag football tournament.
To emphasize the State’s focus on the importance inclusion, the first Celebrating Community Integration Award was presented to the Access Cowling Project. Represented by Jen Hagmeier, Amy Rees, and London Mayor Pat Closser, the award signifies the community’s embracing of an accessible playground at Cowling Park.
In its second year, MCBDD’s established a Hero Award which highlighted individuals who provided lifesaving methods to assist individuals with disabilities. CRSI home staff member Nicole Sweet single-handedly evacuated three women from a house fire, and a group of Special Olympics athletes and coaches sprung into action when they came across a serious car accident. These awards were presented by London Police Chief Glenn Nicol and London Fire Chief Todd Eades.
Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities recognized nine staff members who have achieved 20-plus years of service locally to individuals with disabilities. They include Carol Ansel, Julie Anthony, Annette Clevenger, Melonie Fisher, Brenda Fitch, Jeff Gates, Mike Mast, Vicki Thompson, and Melody Williams.
The Blue Spectrum Band entertained prior to the awards presentations. Door prizes were generously donated by Cappy’s Pizza, Coughlin Automotive, and Madison County Special Olympics.
All in attendance enjoyed a meal catered by Cappy’s Pizza.