Summer means baseball--and this summer was no exception as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox welcomed UCP and Exceptional Parent (EP) at two very special events honoring American heroes at Disability Awareness Night.
The New York Yankees hosted UCP and Exceptional Parent at the first Disability Awareness Night on the eve of our nation's Independence Day, July 3, 2002. The event paid special tribute to the 54 million Americans with disabilities and their families and honored the 12th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Honorees at the pre-game ceremonies were General James L. Jones, 32nd Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and his wife Diane and daughter Jennifer; Bill Porter, a man with cerebral palsy whose life was portrayed in a TNT Original movie entitled Door to Door; and Shelly Brady, author and long-time friend and assistant of Bill Porter.
General Jones and his wife received recognition for their tireless efforts on behalf of the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) of the United States Marine Corps. The EFMP helps support the men and women of the Corps who serve our country and who also may be faced with the joys and challenges of being exceptional parents.
Bill Porter is the inspiration behind the TNT Original film Door to Door, based on the true story of his life as a door-to-door salesman. The film first aired on TNT on July 14, with additional release dates to be announced later this year. Shelly Brady's working relationship with Bill was the motivation for her recently released book, Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter.
The Boston Red Sox, UCP and EP held Disability Awareness Night at Fenway Park on August 20, 2002. Honorees at the pre-game ceremonies for the first Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award were the Honorable State Senator from Massachusetts Fred Berry; Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox; and Bob Hall, the founder of the wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon. This distinguished award was named in memory of EP's founder and former editor-in-chief, Max Schleifer, PhD, who passed away in July 2000.
Massachusetts State Senator Fred Berry received recognition for his tireless efforts on behalf of all those with special needs, particularly those with mental retardation, learning disabilities and profound movement disorders.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield was recognized for his commitment to children with special needs in the Boston community as well as in Melbourne, Florida, the community where he makes his home in the off-season. Wakefield also volunteers at the Space Coast Early Intervention Program in Melbourne.
The third recipient of the Maxwell Schleifer Distinguished Service Award was Bob Hall. In addition to being the founder of the wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon, Bob manufactures customized athletic wheelchairs and is a great asset to the disability community.
UCP and EP wish to extend a very special thank you to the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox for supporting Disability Awareness Night this summer. We look forward to including more teams and saluting more heroes next season at Disability Awareness Night 2003.