Governor to honor LBWCC student

Published 12:55 am Friday, December 2, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley will recognize the achievements of an LBW Community College student at a disability awards reception on Dec. 6, at 1:30 p.m., at the Alabama State Capitol.

chelseaChelsea Rae Huggins, who suffered a spinal cord injury in October 2010, will be honored as the state’s student of the year at a ceremony held by the Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, a program of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

When Huggins was 18, she was a passenger in a Jeep that left the roadway and left her badly injured.

The accident left Huggins paralyzed from the chest down.

She spent four months at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

The accident would forever change Huggins’ life, but it would also give her an opportunity to create new masterpieces in a non-traditional way – painting by mouth.

To be able to paint, Huggins had a special mouthpiece made.

In October, local committees from around the state recognized top individuals and businesses in their respective areas during “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” awards ceremonies. The state winners were chosen from these local winners in a dozen distinct categories following the local committee nominee submissions.

“This awards ceremony truly represents the best of the best in employment of Alabamians with disabilities,” said Peggy Anderson, ADRS administrator for business relations. “It’s fitting that we close the calendar year by recognizing our many businesses that work tirelessly to create opportunities for people with disabilities, and the individuals who overcome obstacles to positively impact their communities.”

ADRS provides services to help employers retain employees who acquire disabilities due to illness, aging, or accidents by providing accommodations for those individuals.

The mission of ADRS is to enable Alabama’s children and adults with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential. In fiscal year 2016, the department assisted 4,607 Alabamians with disabilities in becoming successfully employed.

The Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities was created in the late 1940s by Gov. Jim Folsom as a response to veterans with disabilities who returned home and found no work available. Since that time, many individuals with disabilities, both veterans and civilians, have received the benefit of activities of the Governor’s Committee.

The committee coordinates a network of local volunteer groups throughout the state and works closely with ADRS staff to develop employment opportunities and raise awareness of the needs and rights of Alabamians with disabilities.