PCPID Quarterly Meeting: November 19–20, 2008
President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Announcements, Meeting Announcements, Publication (Documents and Resources), Meeting Minutes
- Meeting Minutes, Meeting Announcement
November 20, 2008
Award Ceremony to Honor the Late George Bouthilet, Ph.D.
On November 20, 2009, Chairman Rhatigan opened the meeting by declaring that it was a special day for the Committee since they were assembled in order to honor the late George Bouthilet, Ph.D. The group was fortunate to include Mr. Dan Schneider, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families. The successes that the Committee has and will have in this last report are due in great measures to Dan’s commitment to Intellectual Disabilities. He and the PCPID Executive Director, Ms. Sally Atwater, made sure there were resources to get the job done. Chairman Rhatigan expressed his appreciation.
Mr. Schneider informed the group that he would be terminated in January 2009, but noted that it was a pleasure to work with everyone. He also commented on Dr. George Bouthilet, the award, and the awardees. Mr. Schneider observed that there are two ways to impact public policy: cultural institutions and valid research that shows public facts. He expressed the belief that the awards could not have gone to better people or organizations, as these have been involved with actual research and cultural institutions.
Mr. Harris Hollin talked about the life of Dr. George Bouthilet, former Research Director for at PCPID for 27 years. Mr. Hollin gave background information, talking specifically about activities with which Dr. Bouthilet was involved and discussing his character. Mr. Hollin then asked Ms. Mary Margaret Sharp-Pucci to introduce the honorees.
The first honoree was Allan Bergman, President and CEO of Anixter Center in Chicago. He has spent forty years in the field in different positions. In the ARC, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, and the Brain Injury Association of America, he held leadership positions. His public service record stretches from the local level to the national level. Mr. Bergman was an early pioneer in crafting family support and was instrumental in moving institutional services to community services. He has had his hand in much of the policy and legislation that guides these services as we know them today. As an ambassador and advocate, Mr. Bergman has made a real difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
Ms. Laverdia Roach introduced the second award, a special recognition of the Museum of Disability History. The museum is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance, and the independence of people with disabilities using material that creates awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery. This is the only museum dedicated to disabilities in the nation. Beyond the museum, their mission continued with traveling exhibits and a virtual museum online. These and many other contributions by the Museum of Disability History make it worthy to be a recipient of Dr. George N. Bouthilet Award.
Each of the award recipients was invited to share remarks. Mr. Allan Bergman thanked the Committee, saying how honored he was to receive the award named for George Bouthilet, whose commitment and work quality Mr. Bergman had personally seen. He has been able to track the efforts of the Committee from almost the beginning, working closely with it between 1986 and 1998. Mr. Bergman believes in its mission, accomplishments and potential. He originally became involved with this work because of the poor treatment of people with intellectual disabilities which he observed early in his career. As that career has progressed, Mr. Bergman has been fortunate to work with many of the best and brightest. He then shared a success story in which he was able to help improve the lives of an individual with intellectual disabilities and the family of that individual. This sort of success helps him to continue working.
Dr. Francisco Vasquez accepted the award for the Museum of Disability History. He talked about the mission of the Museum. It presents the stories of people with developmental disabilities over time. Dr. James Boles originally created it because there was not a credible single source with information on the history of service to people with disabilities. In addition to the physical museum, a traveling exhibit and website make the materials available to a wider audience. Dr. Bouthilet took a very active interest in the museum before he passed away. Mr. Vasquez thanked the Committee for the award.
Chairman Rhatigan talked about Mr. Dan Schneider who gave crucial support to the Committee. He also acknowledged Mr. Neil Romano who helped to mold the group to its current state. The Chairman invited any comments from Mr. Romano. Mr. Romano said that he had come that morning to see friends and celebrate Dr. George Bouthilet. It was a pleasure and an honor for him to work with the Committee.
Chairman Rhatigan brought the meeting to a close with a few final words. The Committee started out as a new group with members unknown to one another. Mr. Rob Sweezy deserves credit for leadership which integrated new members into the Committee. The ex officio members were also extremely dedicated, following through on everything they committed to do. The Chairman extended an independent thank you to Ms. Linda Starnes, Mr. Ollie Cantos, Mr. Harris Hollin, and each member of the PCPID staff. He also reminded members of the committee that they will be receiving a copy of the proposed letter for the new administration. Members should send in review comments on that letter. Chairman Rhatigan expressed expectation that members would stay connected to one another.
A few individuals had closing remarks to add. Ms. Mary Ellen Zeppuhar conveyed her best wishes to the group and apologized that she could not attend the meeting in person. Dr. Sambhu Banik complimented the Committee for selecting Allan Bergman for an award. Mr. Eric Treat talked about the importance of taking into account differences between the general public and people with intellectual disabilities. Ms. Sally Atwater thanked the Committee again, individually thanking Chairman Rhatigan and Chairman Emeritus Sweezy.
The meeting was adjourned by Chairman Rhatigan.