HARRISBURG, Pa., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- PIBH recognized 23 outstanding Pennsylvania workers and the exceptional character they demonstrate in living and coping with disabilities, particularly in the workplace.
The Nettie Mann Achievement Award Dinner, held by PIBH at the Hilton Hotel in Harrisburg last night, celebrated the winner and runners-up from across the state. Every day, however, PIBH honors the spirit and skills of Pennsylvanians with disabilities by facilitating employment opportunities for them.
Edwin Brown of McConnellsburg, PA is the winner of the PIBH Nettie Mann Achievement Award. Twenty-two other workers from around the state were honored as runners-up for the prestigious award.
The Nettie Mann Achievement Award is named for an exceptional young woman who tragically died in a 1993 car accident just weeks before being named PIBH Worker of the Year. This distinguished award is given annually to the person who most emulates Mann's enduring legacy of independence and dedication.
This award includes an all-expense paid trip to the award dinner for two, $500 cash gift and plaque. Runners-up attend the award dinner to receive a plaque and $100 cash gift. All will be profiled in the PIBH newsletter.
Growing up on the family farm in Houstontown, PA, Edwin Brown has always had a love for the land. But in order to support his family, he also spent time working in the coal mines. In 1991 at the age of 34, his life changed forever when, in an attempt to not hit a deer that had run onto the road, he swerved his car and hit a tree head on. He was Lifelined to an area hospital and was later diagnosed a quadriplegic.
Brown was told by his doctors that we would need six months of physical and mental rehabilitation. However, through hard work and determination, Brown completed his rehabilitation and re-entered the "real world" after only four months.
But the real world came with its own sets of challenges: strangers staring at him and whispering about him; narrow doorways that claimed to be wheelchair accessible but in reality were not.
Brown knew he needed to make a new life for him and his family. He purchased a vehicle specially equipped for him to drive and began working with Goodwill Keystone Area's Occupational Services in order to re-enter the work force. He found a position as a Photo ID Technician in McConnellsburg, where he has continued to work for the last 15 years. "This job helped Ed regain his confidence with the public," said Joselyn Sexton, Brown's Photo ID Program Manager. "However, his heart and soul was always in farming and in being outdoors."
In 1995, Brown became a single parent after he and his wife divorced and his three sons chose to live with him. Wanting to be an active participant in his sons' lives, Brown attended their practices and sporting events -- home and away, and he even took his sons hunting.
In addition to working as a Photo ID Technician, Brown also rents and works on three farms, where he grows crops on two and raises beef cattle on the third. While he has outside help to run the farms, Brown is actively involved in the day-to-day activities. He even modified a John Deere Gator so that he could use it.
Says Sexton, "Ed Brown is an amazing individual, a dedicated employee and a friend to all. I believe we could all learn some life lessons from this incredible man."
"Edwin Brown defines what it means to be determined. His story is inspiring and he is a true role model for people of all abilities," said Al Baker, PIBH President and CEO.
Doug Flutie, NFL star, MVP and Heisman Trophy winner, served as the keynote speaker at the dinner and presented Brown with his award. Bringing a message of hope and empowerment, Flutie spoke of the foundation he established in the name of his son, the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, to help less-fortunate families with autistic children.
During his four-year college career at
Flutie's professional career is equally impressive. In 1985, he played with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL. A year later, he signed with the NFL's Chicago Bears and then did a three year stint with the New England Patriots. In 1989, Flutie headed to Canada where he played eight years with the CFL, having perhaps the greatest quarterback career in Canadian football history. He returned to the NFL in 1998 and played with the Buffalo Bills, earning Pro Bowl and NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. He finished his playing career as a member of the New England Patriots in 2005.
In addition to being a motivational speaker, Flutie now serves as a college football analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports.
"PIBH is honored that Doug Flutie has graciously participated in recognizing these extraordinary individuals," said Baker.
PIBH also recognized State Senator Robert J. Mellow as the Legislator of the Year for his support of persons with disabilities, and in particular his support of PIBH's member agency, Allied Services in Scranton, PA. Because of Senator Mellow's strong contribution and intervention, Allied Services was able to retain their contract to manufacture trash liners, and the process, keep persons with disabilities employed and productive members of their community. Senator Mellow represents Lackawanna County, as well as part of Luzerne and Monroe counties.
Helping Hands Awards were given to 21 Pennsylvania organizations that have demonstrated strong support for those with disabilities and are "helping people help themselves."
Runners-up for the Nettie Mann Achievement Award include the following:
NAME ORGANIZATION Rex Birnbaum CTC Manufacturing, Inc. Arthur Blank Goodwill Industries of Conemaugh Valley Tyrone Michael Bond PDDC Cynthia Pryor Crews ARC Human Services, Inc. Lenore "Dutch" Laity United Rehabilitation Services, Inc. Thomas Litwiler MCAR, Inc. Lisa Lockwood Goodwill of North Central PA Sharon Miller Quest, Inc. Irma Mitchel InspiriTec, Inc. Galen Moyer Threshold/Berks Personnel Network Margaret Novosel Lark Enterprises, Inc. Roderick "Roddy" Palmer Keystone Blind Association Sharon Potter Partners In Progress Thomas Price CopperTree Cynthia Rupert SABVI, Alley Center for the Blind Shane Snyder North Central Sight Services, Inc. Renee Springer SUNCOM Industries Harold W. Stambaugh Venango Training & Development Center Linda Teasley Easter Seals of Western PA Shannon Washington Tri-County Association for the Blind Eric Young Inglis Foundation Anthony Zippittelli Allied Services
The following individuals accepted Helping Hands awards for their organization:
NAME ORGANIZATION Sally Shaffer Board of Probation & Parole Deb Capasso Department of Corrections Central Office Lawanza Poteat Department of Education Management Services, Procurement Pamela Gabriel Department of General Services Betty Goodling Department of General Services, Bureau of Procurement Jan Braxton Department of General Services, Bureau of Procurement Bryon C. Noon Department of Public Welfare, Bureau of Employment & Training Programs Alice Robinson-Penn Department of Public Welfare, Office of Medical Assistance Programs Connie Tyson Department of Transportation, Bureau of Office Services Toni Lappa Department of Transportation, District 12-0 Tomika Fenderson Department of Transportation, Maintenance District 8-5 Marilyn Cartwright Ebensburg Center Becky Clapper Hollidaysburg Veteran's Home Michael Deveney Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Patti Kramer Selinsgrove Center Terri Bortles State Correctional Institution SCI-Albion Barbara Swiatek State Correctional Institution SCI-Dallas Candee Hosband State Correctional Institution SCI-Graterford Kelly Richardson State Correctional Institution SCI-Graterford Mandi Shadle State Employees' Retirement System Nancy Byers Torrance State Hospital
For 53 years PIBH has been the central non-profit agency in Pennsylvania solely dedicated to increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities -- and thus achieve a meaningful life -- through the fulfillment of state government contracts for goods and services.
PIBH has 75 member agencies represented in each county of Pennsylvania, employing approximately 4,000 individuals through community rehabilitation programs. Agencies receive revenue to support their programs, paying workers who then become contributing members of their communities.
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