2013 Disability Awareness Day (DAD) on Oct. 26 at Westfield Annapolis Mall featured information on disability issues, interactive exhibits and live entertainment. Businesses or organizations that provide employment or other accommodations for individuals with disabilities were honored with Executive Citations. “These organizations play a vital role in enhancing opportunities and services for residents of Anne Arundel County with disabilities,” said County Executive Laura Neuman. “And while we have set aside this day to recognize these individuals, we appreciate and value our residents with disabilities every day.”
The Anne Arundel County Commission on Disability Issues recognized Michelle Bathras with the top honor, the 2013 DAD Award. Ms. Bathras also received awards from County Executive Laura Neuman, the City of Annapolis, the Annapolis City Council and the Anne Arundel County Council, presented by Councilman Chris Trumbauer. Ms. Bathras is the Chief Operating Officer of Bello Machre, an organization providing services for people with developmental disabilities. Ms. Bathras began working at Bello Machre more than twenty-five years ago as an administrative assistant and has also been a live-in house counselor. She led the creation of one of only two Developmental Disabilities Certified Nursing Assistant Certification programs in the state of Maryland.
The public also visited with over 35 exhibitors who provide services to individuals with disabilities. The Opportunity Builders, Inc. (OBI) Bell Choir and Hands of Harmony provided entertainment, and Canine Companions for Independence performed a demonstration.
For information on the Commission, contact the Americans with Disabilities Act office at the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities at 410-222-4464.