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28 October 2010

Rupp: Governor’s Council on Disability Accepting Applications for 2011 Inclusion Award

Hard-working Missouri citizens and businesses that exemplify excellence and dedication to helping others should be rewarded; and therefore, I am happy to announce that the Missouri Governor's Council on Disability is currently accepting nominations for the 19th Annual Inclusion Award.

The Inclusion Award is awarded to Missouri citizens, businesses or organizations that demonstrate fine leadership skills and the best inclusion practices. The award will be presented at the Power Up 2011 conference and expo sponsored by Missouri Assistive Technology.

Inclusion practices are methods of assisting and welcoming people with disabilities in schools, the workplace and the community, allowing them to feel useful and embraced by others. The council defines inclusion as a place where everyone belongs and is accepted on an equal basis.

Past winners of the Inclusion Award include citizens who have modified homes of injured veterans returning from combat, employers who have given jobs to newly graduated students with learning disabilities, and teachers who have allowed mentally challenged students into their average classrooms, encouraging them to do projects based on their individual interests.

The Missouri Governor's Council on Disability has a long history of helping others, dating back to the era of World War II. The organization was founded after President Harry S. Truman issued an Executive Order founding the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. The committee was organized primarily to aid the returning WWII veterans who were wounded in action, helping them return back to the U.S. workforce. In 1949, Missouri established the Governor's Council on Disability to help prevent problems in the workplace that disabled people may encounter. Forty-five years later, the council has expanded beyond helping handicapped people in the workplace, assisting them in all aspects of life. Currently, the council represents more than one million Missouri residents with various handicaps.

I am very proud to promote this organization. Through my efforts as the Chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism, as well as my contributions to the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders, I've remained dedicated to helping children with disabilities. Allowing them to grow up to be happy, productive members of society is a top priority.

The deadline for nominations of the 2011 Inclusion Award is December 1. For more information about the Missouri Governor's Council on Disability, or to download an application for a nomination, visit and click on the "GCD Now Accepting Nominations for Inclusion Award" link.

If you have any questions or comments about this week's column or any other matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me.  You can reach my office by phone at (866) 271-2844.

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