Mayor Buckhorn Presented Awards at Alliance Luncheon

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Mayor Bob Buckhorn presented awards for Employer of the Year, Excellence in Media, Outstanding Community Service/Volunteer and the Joe Sanchez Jr. Leadership Award at the Mayor’s Alliance for Persons with Disabilities Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 28, 2016.

Abby’s Health and Nutrition received the award for Employer of the Year for their strong role in evaluating, training and hiring persons with disabilities. They provide support, a flexible work schedule and work with a job coach to make the employees feel included and part of a family.

The Excellence in Media Award went to Julie Ames of the Special Needs Family Hour. Ms. Ames’s Sunday radio program provides information, assistance and support to parents of children with special needs with expert guests and by giving presentations outside of her show.

Brandon Elks Lodge #2383 received the Outstanding Community Service/Volunteer Award for their services to disabled Tampa veterans, providing transportation to medical appointments, social activities and church and for paying to remodel a kitchen to make it more accessible. They also volunteer at Fisher House, which provides housing for veterans who are receiving treatment at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital and their families.

The prestigious Joe Sanchez Jr. Leadership Award went to Keith Collins, the CEO of Tampa Residential, which specializes in the remodeling and construction of affordable accessible housing for persons with disabilities. Collins has shared his “Freedom House” design with other builders around the world with no compensation and helped to create the “Special Adapted Housing Act”, which helps veterans with service-related disabilities. He offers free consulting and is known as a true advocate for persons with disabilities.

Chief Warrant Officer Romulo “Romy” Camargo was the keynote speaker. While on a combat operation in Afghanistan in September 2008, Camargo’s detachment was viciously ambushed and he sustained a gunshot wound to the back of the neck which paralyzed him from the shoulders down.

Camargo retired to Tampa, Florida, where he and his wife have opened the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center, which is the first Wounded Warrior owned Recovery Center in the United States. The organization is a non-profit, dedicated to helping veterans and civilians who are coping with spinal cord injuries.