During 2006 the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) celebrated 50 years of service to individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth. On September 26, 2006 a celebration took place in Boston at the State House and the MRC honored individuals, companies and organizations who have demonstrated their commitment to improving the lives of consumers with disabilities.

The Legislative Reception began with the Pledge of Allegiance lead by James Fratolillo, MRC manager and past state Commander of the American Legion. Health and Human Services Secretary Timothy Murphy opened the legislative ceremony and presented a proclamation by Governor Romney designating October 2006 as MRC Month.

Senator Susan C. Fargo then presented a Senate Resolution and Representative Robert S. Hargraves presented a House Resolution. Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg presented a Legislative Advocacy Award to Senator Fred Berry and Representative

Bruce J. Ayers presented a Legislative Advocacy Award to Representative Tom Kennedy.

Commissioner Bartels was presented an award for twenty nine-plus years of service by Secretary Timothy Murphy. Commissioner Bartels then presented Legislative Advocacy Awards to Bill Henning of Boston Center for Independent Living Inc.(BCIL) and Paul Spooner of Metrowest Independent Living Alert Network (MILAN ).

The public ceremony began with jazz singer Lisa Thorson and her band playing for the public attendees at a luncheon. Commissioner Bartels welcomed guests and acknowledged Rockland Trust Company's sponsorship for the event. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Gerald Morrissey spoke and Commissioner Bartels introduced the keynote speaker, former Secretary of Labor Jane Edmonds.The 50 th Anniversary Community Partnership Awards were then presented. These awards were based on three criteria: leadership, dedication, and advocacy. Winners included: Baystate Health, Community Connections of South Yarmouth, Cape Organization for the Rights of the Disabled, Easter Seals of Massachusetts, Homeless Outreach and Assistance Project, University of Massachusetts College of Public and Community Services, and consumer advocates Joe Bellil, June Hailer, and Christopher Hart.

This celebration highlighted the growth of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the comprehensive array of services it offers to individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth. It also showed how MRC helps consumers to achieve a secure future, including living independently in the community and being successful in the working world.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.