Favede receives Ohio Public Images' Award

St. Clairsville - Belmont County Commissioner Ginny Favede is attending to business on a county level now, but it was the work she did as St. Clairsville Playground Renovation Committee chairperson that earned her a state award for 2008.

Favede received the Merit award in the Community/Elected Official category at the Annual Ohio Public Images Awareness Awards Luncheon, held March 9 in Columbus.

Ohio Public Images is a statewide, non-profit organization that promotes positive perceptions and understanding of people with developmental disabilities.

The award was presented to her on March 19 by the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which nominated her for the award.

In the nomination, the Board noted: "As a public servant and community activist, Ginny Favede of St. Clairsville has often been the catalyst for change, yet it is a cause she took up on behalf of children with developmental disabilities that makes her worthy of an Ohio Public Images Award in 2008. She worked to dismantle the injustice of inaccessibility when she made the new St. Clairsville Memorial Park Playground a 'playground for every child.' "

The nomination noted that Favede altered original plans for a new playground after she witnessed a teacher from the School of Hope, the Board's school-age program, struggling to get a little girl in a wheelchair down the steep, grassy embankment so she could be with her classmates in the playground area. Following the incident, Ginny realized the original playground plans were not accessible to children with disabilities. She then worked to add a sidewalk from the parking lot to the playground and around its perimeter.

In accepting the award, Favede said, "It was one of my proudest achievements that we were able to put in the sidewalk; I appreciate this (award), but I cannot take full credit." She cited the work of playground committee members and prisoners from Belmont Correctional Institution, who made it happen.

"We believe Ginny Favede's advocacy on behalf of children with disabilities is the finest example of what 'doing the right thing' really means and the impact it can have on an entire community," said Monty Kerr, CEO/Superintendent of the Board.

Ohio Public Images Awareness awards are given each year in various categories to recognize and honor the individuals and organizations across Ohio that have, through their efforts, helped people with disabilities gain greater access to the community.