Twelve outstanding handicapped individuals, employers and service providers were honored with Golden Key awards during a banquet at the Red Lion Inn Wednesday.
Awards were given to those who have done much to help the disabled reach their full potential."We salute these outstanding citizens with disabilities for their achievements, determination and willingness to be `role models' for others to emulate," Utah first lady Colleen Bangerter said during the banquet. "We offer sincere `thank you's' to service providers who face the needs of the consumer with limited resources, and yet continue to provide support, training, information and growing opportunities which lead to independence through employment."
Ann Kilbourn, Salt Lake City, was presented with the "Disabled Utahn of the Year" award. Kilbourn is a reporter at the Salt Lake Tribune. She suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Outstanding Citizen awards were given to Alison James, Salt Lake City, and Letha Lindell Dobbins, Bountiful.
Vance Anderson was honored as the Athlete of the Year.
Service providers awards went to Sterling Redd with the Family Health Services division of the Utah Department of Health; the Consortium of the Adult Day Treatment Unit of the Salt Lake Valley Mental Health; and the Salt Lake Spanish Speaking Health and Mental Health Task Force.
Employers of the year awards were presented to Fabell Enterprises, Clearfield; Norton's Food Centers, Utah County; Raddison Inn, Price; and Titus Foods.
Logan City Service Center received the Government Employer of the Year award.
Julie Eldredge, Provo, received the Maurice Warshaw Award.
Bangerter was the keynote speaker at the luncheon. She noted that this month is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. "When the Congress of the United States asks all Americans to pay special attention to the problems of employment of people with disabilities for an entire month, you know they are serious."
Utah has made great strides in pulling down barriers against the disabled, she said. But there is much that needs to be done, both in Utah and across the nation.
"A shocking two-thirds of working-age persons with disabilities are out of the job market, although many of them desperately want to work," she said. "As a nation and as taxpayers, we cannot afford to ignore this enormous waste of human potential."
She urged representatives of government and business to work together to reach the goals of dignity, quality life and employment for all disabled.