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Dan B. Davidson Awards

The annual Dan B. Davidson Awards recognize examples of inclusion of people with disabilities, and honor Dan Davidson, who died in 1996 at the age of forty-one. Defying the odds and ignoring the advice of those who said he could not do it, Davidson followed his dream of living independently in his community.  To celebrate his spirit and his memory, the Developmental Disabilities Council recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated visionary practices providing exemplary supports for people with disabilities leading to meaningful lives in their neighborhoods and their communities.

The Council annual seeks nominations for awards to be given to individuals, agencies, or organizations that have demonstrated visionary practices providing exemplary services and supports for people with disabilities that lead to inclusion as active and valued members of their communities. The Council will recognize outstanding examples of inclusion in the following categories:

  • Education;
  • Employment; and
  • Community Life

Winners in each category for awards received their award honoring their efforts along with a $500 honorarium and were recognized at the Council's annual celebration on July 26, 2017.  The awards banquet was held at the Holiday Inn Hotel Stapleton: 3333 Quebec St Denver, CO 80207 from 5:30-8:00PM.

 The 2017 Dan B. Davidson Recipients:

Sheryle Hutter for her work at the Cross Disability Coalition on the development and implementation of a training curriculum for advocates in thee disabiility community.  sheryle worked tirelessly for many years to get the training organized as well as participants having the ability to obtain credit through Denver University for taking the classes.  Classes are both online and in person.

 

ADAPT/Dawn Russell were awarded for their work in trying to stop cuts to Medicaid as well as organizing outside Cory Gardner's office and in D.C.  ADAPT has been very influential nationally on impacting the right to community living including public transportation.  Their work in Denver since 1978 has been stellar and strong. 

Dr. Ann Guillies, PhD is a professor at Mesa University in Grand Junction and demonstrates her beliefs via her practices in the classroom in which she includes individuals with disabilities as members along with other students.  She is a strong believer in inclusive education and lives her values.

Christ Church United Methodist Church/Denver choir has been very welcoming of an individual who lives with disabiilities and wanted to be a member of the choir.  The diversity and hospitality within the church community is very worthy of recognition.

Avani Dilger of Natural Highs in Boulder wins the award for being totally inclusive in the members that join the group.  The mission of the group is to prevent engagement with alcohol and other substances, by peer supports and friendship.

Kiera Trinder is a great connector of individuals with disabilities and individuals who are in the community, in this case the UNC in Greeley.  Kiera connected someone who knew through her work at the Greeley Center for Independence with contacts at UNC.  The people she connected were both interested in creative writing and are now sharing ideas and thoughts around their common interest.  

 

Congrats to all for their strong committment to inclusion and strong actions on both the policy front and the individual advocacy front.  Work well done! 

 The 2016 Dan B. Davidson Award Recipients:

Ellie Valdez Honeyman Excellence in Inclusion in Education Award went to: 

Karie Armstrong, Director of Costume Design for the Drama Department at Poudre High School in Fort Collins. Kari connects with students who are not necessarily engaged with school and invites them to join the group, drawing out students to design, sew, paint, and do a range of things they had never done before. Imagination is high and students are drawn like magnets to the activities. Kari finds a gift in all students as well as the perfect fit for that gift in school productions.

Clarence Miller Excellence in Inclusion in Employment Award went to: 

Marilee Boylan for her work on the passage of S.B. 77/Employment First. Since becoming the director of the Arc of Larimer County, Marilee has been working to increase the number of individuals with disabilities who are employed through the Everybody Works initiative. Marilee showed a strong committment to the passage of the bill as well as to seeing that individuals with disabilities experience real jobs, in real places, with real pay, and benefits.  

Larry Ruiz Excellence in Inclusion Community Awards went to: 

Brecken Fenwick, a host home provider who took a job as a respite provider in for a home in Erie for three men in 2015 and was appalled at what she found. She chose not to take the easy path regarding reporting the abuse and neglect she found even though it adversity could be an outcome. Brecken followed her conscience to bring three men to freedom from the abuse and neglect they endured for ten long years. We are all grateful for her courage.

Shari Repinski, has had many roles in her career serving children and adults living with intellectual disabilities, most recently as the Director of Rocky Mountain Human Services. In her current role, she held on to her values and righted the ship that is RMHS so that it could stay the course and promote the rights and  inclusion of those receiving services. In a politically charged atmosphere, Shari focuses on accountability and transparency and sees that necessary improvements are no longer delayed.

Sargent Damon Vaz and the Aurora Police Special Victims Unit, are taking the lead in Colorado in implementing S.B. 109, which mandates the reporting of all crimes against citizens with I/DD. The Unit initially worked with abused elders, but Sgt. Vaz quickly noticed that ALL groups should be included and expanded before the mandated implementation of S.B. 109. People with I/DD will be better empowered to connect in their communities with the "Protect and Serve" motto being implemented by the Aurora Police Department. 

Aspen Noise is a choir group that gets together weekly for practices and eventually performs throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, coordinating with other musical groups for local talent, guitar, and piano, to perform. The choir is very diverse in that there is a range of ages included as well as disabilities and all are welcome. Choir Director, Barbara Bloesma's work has truly made a difference in the community to open people's hearts and minds to the true meaning of community and full inclusion. 

 The 2015 Dan B. Davidson Award recipients included:

The Larry Ruiz Excellence in Inclusion in Community Award went to:

Jeremy Meyer, writer for the Denver Post, and parent of a child with a disability.

The Ellie Valdez Honeyman Excellence in Inclusion in Education Awards went to:   

Jen Bryner, an educator and theater director at Prairie High School in Henderson, CO and

Chatfield High School football program.  

The 2014 Dan B. Davidson Recipients included:

Larry Ruiz Excellence In Inclusion in the Community Award went to:

  • Kappa Kappa Gamma and Susan Anderson, of Boulder
  • El Grupo Vida and Maria Castillo of Denver

Ellie Valdez Honeyman Excellence in Inclusion in Education Award went to:

  •  Patricia Stahl, Louisville Elementary School
  • Jason Marsh, Sewald Child Developmental  Center

Clarence Miller Excellence in Inclusion in Employment Award went to:

  • Habitat for Humanity-Roaring Fork
  • Wells Fargo Bank, Boulder