Chief Minister's Inclusion Awards 2014Share Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
The ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards emerged from a week of turmoil on a couple of fronts to once again be the most heartwarming and exceptional celebration of inclusion across a wide ranging degree of abilities we call disabilities.
The sudden death of Stella Young was difficult to cope with for all involved with these awards as Stella has been the inspirational MC for the last two years with this year to be her third gig. She was excited, we were too but it was not to be. Paul Donohue, BDW Special Events Director, spoke of the Stella he’s known and loved and a delicious story from last year when Stella decided it was a lovely day for a ‘walk’ and set off from Hotel Hotel in Acton for Parliament House for rehearsals. The wind beneath her wings was a bit unkind as it blew her teeny tiny dress up and around, her hair every which way, the distance was greater than she’d calculated and her trusty wheelchair was probably in need of a grease and oil change by the time she arrived. But she did and laughed herself silly in the telling.
To fill her teeny tiny shoes, one call to Tim Ferguson and the show was back on track. Then the Chief Minister resigned to contest the soon to be vacant senate seat. Andrew Barr was elected CM and confirmed he’d be there. He was; he spoke of his commitment to the awards and tried to scurry off to form his government but I corralled him into a Christmas photo in the foyer.
What a preamble that all was, but it went to plan from there. Well almost; the other distraction that became the centrifugal force of these awards was Isaac, who we watched, smiled and acknowledged as the epitome of inclusion as he wandered his domain, watched everyone and kept his magnificent mother and minders busy all night. It is my favourite photo of the event where Isaac is in his world as the awarded display their awards. And those awards are many and varied going to all manner of worthy recipients that join a growing list of includers in this city all working to make lives better for all deemed disabled. I enjoyed the company of the boys in the band, Rudely Interrupted, whose Rock and Roll was a refreshing blast into a sombre beginning for a big finish and fell in love with Sandy the golden girl, a Labrador on her first big night out as her ‘wrangler’ Ben Lane and soon to be owner Ronny Lawrence continued her Assistance Dog training. Congratulations to Craig Wallace as the recipient of the Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award.
And to those who advise for gong recipients in other spheres, Sheree Henley, the effervescent and energetic mother of Isaac is most worthy!