- By Nancy G. Holman
PARSONS, Kansas — Over 400 people celebrated the Christmas season with the SKIL Resource Center on December 6 at SKIL’s annual signature event, “My Home for the Holidays.” The community event included a free chicken and noodles dinner, music by Duke Mason and Buzz-Bee Entertainment, special speaker Stephanie West-Potter of the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, and awards presented by SKIL officials during its annual public board meeting.
“We host this popular community holiday celebration every year, on the first Friday of December,” said Shari Coatney, SKIL president/CEO. “It’s a great way for people with disabilities to enjoy a free dinner, socialize and meet others in the community. We open it up for anyone who wants to come as part of our ongoing effort to promote true community integration.”
West-Potter, a well-known advocate for people with disabilities, spoke about the importance of voting and otherwise being involved with political processes. SKIL had an onsite voter registration table for anyone who wanted to register to vote.
Coatney and SKIL’s board of directors presented 10 framed awards to various recipients to honor their achievements.
Coatney presented the Bobbie Carter “Charitable Donor” award to Alisha Morrison. Board chair Susan Roberson presented the Edward Reynolds “Outstanding Leadership” award to Tina Pass. Roberson presented the Ron Garnett “Believe & Achieve” award to Traci Whitworth.
Board member Buzz Busby presented the Tom Robinson “Proving by Doing” award to Ricki Boyd. Busby presented the Bob Grant “Voice for Change” award to Bradley Glower. Board member Nancy Varner presented the Gail & John Spillman “Spirit of Independence” award to Michael Hamby.
Board member David Wooten presented the Sandra Klingensmith “Youth” award to Gracie Gatton. Wooten presented the Marty Wooten “Advocacy” award to Starli Jones. Board member Stephen Busby presented the Darlene Lomax “Above & Beyond” award to Michael Cox. Busby presented the Carolyn Freeman “Inspiring a Generation” award to Darlene Gardner.
Sponsors for the holiday event were Aetna Health, ATK, Carvin Software, The Iron Press, K-Loan, Labette Bank, Newkirk, Dennis & Buckles, and United Healthcare.
“We deeply appreciate the generosity and dedication of our sponsors,” said Coatney. “If it weren’t for them, this wonderful celebration would not happen.”
SKIL is a multi-faceted independent living resource center that serves people with all types of disabilities or those whose environment is disabling. Headquartered in Parsons, SKIL has branch offices in Chanute, Columbus, Fredonia, Independence, Pittsburg, and Sedan. The agency serves over 4,500 customers with disability needs.
In addition to operating the center for independent living, SKIL also operates an alternative lending program called K-LOAN that enables people with disabilities to purchase assistive equipment; and Assistive Technology for Kansans sites in Parsons and Wichita that provide assistive technology and training, as well as other programs related to technology.
For more information, call Parsons SKIL at 1-800-688-5616 or contact any SKIL office. On the web at www.skilonline.com .