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Disability Advisory Committee turns 10

October 30, 2009

The Washington County Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) to the Washington County Commissioners celebrated its 10th anniversary Friday at an event that included proclamations from the State of Maryland and an address from the director of the National Council on Disability.

Two awards were presented to Hagerstown employers exhibiting positive track records of providing employment for people who have disabilities.

The 2009 Employer Award for Large Companies of 100 or more employees was presented to the Martin's Food Markets at North Pointe and Wesel Boulevard. The Employer Award for Small Companies of one to 100 employees was presented to Maryland Paper Co. Both firms were nominated by Horizon Goodwill Industries.

The 2009 Grand Award was presented to the Washington County Recreation and Parks Advisory Board for contributions to improved accessibility of parks across the county through outstanding and prudent administration of Program Open Space funds over the years.

Program Open Space funds are provided by the State of Maryland to assist people with disabilities by increasing their ability to enjoy meaningful recreational experiences in park settings in towns and cities, and in the rural areas of all 27 counties.

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The 2009 Accessibility Design Award was presented to Scott Hobbs for his contribution to improvements of the quality of lives of thousands of citizens of Washington County through his design of the scenic bridge at Devil's Backbone Park. Hobbs is the bridge engineer with the county's Public Works Capital Project Engineering Department.

The bridge, over Antietam Creek at Devil's Backbone Park off Md. 65 near Lappans Crossroads, replaced a similar structure damaged by a flood in June 2006.

Keynote speaker Michael Collins, executive director of the National Council on Disability, spoke on the council's role in national policymaking. The council, appointed by the president, researches issues of importance to the disability community and reports to Congress on unmet needs.

The DAC was created in 1999 to provide advice and expertise to the Board of County Commissioners on matters of community importance and concern to citizens who have disabilities.

The event was held in the new Merle S. Elliott Conference Center at Hagerstown Community College, and was sponsored by the Washington County Commissioners, the DAC, HCC and Deafnet Inc., a local registry of interpreters for the deaf.

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