Special to the
Opelika Observer

The achievements of employees with disabilities and businesses in Alabama were recognized at an awards reception Dec. 3 in the Gordon Persons Building Auditorium.
The ceremony was conducted by the Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, a program of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS).
The honorees have earned top accolades in their respective categories, including large and small-business employer of the year, partnership, youth leadership, media, student, educator, professional, and large- and small-business employee of the year.
In October, local committees from around the state recognized top individuals and businesses in their respective areas during “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” awards ceremonies. The state winners were chosen from these local winners in a dozen distinct categories following the local committee nominee submissions.
This year’s award winners include:
• David Hyche – Advocate of the Year
Carpenters for Christ – Collaboration of the Year
• William M. Roberts – Large Business Employee of the Year
• Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex – Large Business Employer of the Year
• Matt Freeman – Educator of the Year
• Larry Lee – Media of the Year
• Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, Stringfellow Health Fund, Exchange Bank of Alabama-Gadsden and Beautiful Rainbow Café – Partnership of the Year
• Metrology South Inc. – Small Business Employer of the Year
• Logan Tice – Student of the Year
• Michael White – Youth Leadership Award
• Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller – Public Service Award and
• Renee Maradik – Small Business Employee of the Year.
The Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities was created in the late 1940s by Gov. Jim Folsom as a response to veterans with disabilities who returned home and found no work available. Since that time, many individuals with disabilities, both veterans and civilians, have received the benefit of activities of the Governor’s Committee. The committee coordinates a network of local volunteer groups throughout the state and works closely with ADRS staff to develop employment opportunities and raise awareness of the needs and rights of Alabamians with disabilities.