There were smiles all around at the annual Arc Pikes Peak Region dinner and awards when Ellen Marshall came in and, with a big smile, announced: “I got here all by myself.”
That exuberant self-sufficiency was symbolic of those recognized by The Arc on May 18 at Hotel Elegante.
Board member Ellen, with IDD (Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities), lives on her own through Cheyenne Village, founded for adult children by her late mother Peggy Marshall.
The evening’s keynote speaker, Connor Long, is a national Down syndrome advocate, actor, Special Olympian and speaker. He kidded that he wished his Down syndrome was called “Awesome Syndrome” instead so he would be introduced as “awesome.”
Connor, who received a Heartland Emmy Award as a contributing reporter for Denver7News, said proudly, “I’ve had a life that’s worth living. It’s up to us to dream and to nurture those who follow.”
2019 Arc Awards:
Arc Achievers: Patricia Barnett, Ryan Bowlds, James Allen Brooks, Annie Contreras, Samuel Faux, Kelly Goon, Karleah Hall, Timmy Morgan, Gary Rajala, Emily Shockley.
Outstanding Community Service: Jon Eddy
Support Services: Mike Everett, Discover Goodwill; Juan Gonzalez, Community Intersections; Eric Heisel, Envida; Phyllis Watkins, Dungarvin
Employer of the Year: Chick-fil-A, Rob Taylor; Whole Foods, North Academy
Justice for All: Jonathan Walker
President’s Award: Heidi Haines, The Arc of Colorado
Public School Personnel: Michael Velez, Palmer High School; Bridgitte Martin, District 11; Chad Dekam, District 11; Mary Rose Donahue, student teacher, Coronado High School
Outstanding Volunteer Service: Savannah Spinks
Do the Right Thing Award: Mari Newman, civil rights and employment law attorney; Stephanie Garcia, executive director, The Arc of Pueblo
Outstanding Program: Mindset Acquired Through Abilities; Moved by Music; Wellspring Community Awards also were presented in these categories: Parent/Family Advocates; Professional of the Year; Special Recognition; Host Home Provider; Service Provider; Vocational Day Service; Resource Coordination; Residential Service Provider
Photo gallery: gazette.com/life/around-town