On November 4, Access Press, a Minnesota newspaper for people with disabilities, had its annual Charlie Smith Awards dinner. The dinner was attended by a record number of people.
Each year, The Access Press Board of Directors chooses someone who has made a significant impact on the disability community to receive the Charlie Smith award. The 2011 award winner was Jeff Bangsberg, who was chosen from several nominees. At the dinner, he gave a speech, where he talked about what he has done in the disability world and some meaningful experiences he has had in the disability community. (Fortunately, his speech was short; the one last year was about 2 hours!).
Bangsberg, who has a spinal cord injury, was chosen as the award winner because of his “long record of service, dedication and commitment” to the disability community. Until he retired, Bangsberg was the government relations director for the Minnesota HomeCare Association (MHCA), where he worked to support home care services for seniors and persons with disabilities. Currently, he is a consultant to the Minnesota Department of Health and chairs the State Rehabilitation Council. He serves on the Minnesota Health Care Home Consumer and Family Council, as well as on the Courage Center’s Quality Assurance Committee and the Living Works Board of Directors.
Bangsberg has been a loyal advocate for people with disabilities for years. A few examples of his advocacy are his taking on leadership roles on employment of persons with disabilities, independent living and health care reform. Congratulations, Jeff, on winning this award, and thank you for being an influential leader in the disability community (and for giving a short speech!!). Click here to read more about Bangsberg.
Written by: Sam Graves