|Friday, Nov 13, 2009|
Fort Stanwix National Monument received two awards late last month for hiring and working with people who have disabilities.
On Wednesday, October 28th, the park received the first ever statewide Employment First Award from the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities’ (OMRDD) “Works for Me” program. Over 80 nominations were submitted statewide and through a rigorous selection process Fort Stanwix was chosen to receive first prize.
Through the park’s work with Tina Cutler, visitor use assistant, she has moved from receiving mostly state support to mostly self sufficiency. Cutler passed her driver’s license, bought a car, moved into her own apartment, travels extensively on her own, and has become a productive member of society. Cutler and her supervisor Mike Kusch, chief of interpretation and resource management, accepted the award on behalf of Fort Stanwix from Diana Jones Ritter, commissioner of OMRDD, during a ceremony in New York City. OMRDD employee Gail Reese nominated Fort Stanwix for the award and joined Cutler and Kusch when they received the award.
On Thursday, October 29th, the park received a certificate of recognition from the Oneida-Lewis Chapter of the New York State Association for Retarded Children (NYSARC). Fort Stanwix partnered with the Oneida-Lewis Chapter NYSARC School-to-Work Program. Ranger Bill Sawyer worked with NYSARC to provide ten people the opportunity to work on several projects at Fort Stanwix from sweeping rooms inside the fort to a filing project. Sawyer accepted the award during a ceremony in Utica.
“Fort Stanwix National Monument is a strong partner with the New York State Offices of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities and the New York State Association for Retarded Children,” said Debbie Conway, park superintendent. “Over the years Fort Stanwix has hired four people with disabilities to its permanent staff and provided opportunities such as for school to work for others. We are proud of the accomplishments we have had with our partners, and look forward to continuing our work with these partners in the future.”