ddcouncilwebMembers of the Peterborough chapter of ABLE-NH – Kathy and Brian Manfre, Bob English, and Marie Primeau – have been chosen to receive the Developmental Disabilities Council’s 2012 Virginia Bowden Advocacy Award, also known as Advocate of the Year. Rep. Peter Leishman and Sen. Bruce Marcus were also presented Outstanding Legislator Awards. These honors are given annually in December by the New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council for extraordinary leadership and commitment to the cause of dignity, equal rights and full participation of people with disabilities in New Hampshire.

The Peterborough ABLE chapter was instrumental helping get legislation passed for Wait List funding for those families waiting for services for their loved ones. Thanks in large part to the efforts of these ABLE NH members and Peterborough state representatives, the bipartisan effort to get $1.5 million back into the Developmental Disabilities system for the Wait List was passed as a floor amendment in the N.H. House this summer. As a result, most of the hundreds of people on the Wait List have or will receive much-needed services.

Greene, Manfres at DD CouncilThe group was honored on December 6th in Concord at a standing-room only event that included Governor-Elect Maggie Hassan and many state representatives.

Kathy Manfre, speaking on behalf of fellow ABLE members, remarked: “We are individuals with disabilities, parents and family members, friends who have for the last few years worked tirelessly, sometimes under very difficult circumstances. This award is an inspiration to continue to fight the good fight and a reminder that victories both large and small are attainable.”

Carol Stamatakis, Executive Director of the Council on Developmental Disabilities, commented: “To be able to honor this group of parents is so important. Families need to understand and see that their voices really can make a difference in Concord. Persistence is the key. The Peterborough ABLE chapter has been nothing but persistent, and this award is well deserved.”

On an added note, last year's Advocate of the Year Award went to Linda Quintanilha. This year Linda has been chosen to receive the prestigious TASH June Downing Award for her work in fostering inclusive education and opportunities for students with disabilities. She was honored at the 2012 TASH Conference in November in Long Beach, California. TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy whose mission is expressed in three words: Equity – Opportunity – Inclusion. Founded in 1975, TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs – those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect and institutionalization. Click here to read the full story...

Top right picture, from left: Brian Manfre, Debra Opramolla, Bob English, Marie Primeau, Kathy Manfre and Carol Stamatakis.

Picture above: Alan Greene with Kathy and Brian Manfre.