2015 Shine the Light Award Honorees

The 2015 Paraquad Shine the Light Awards recognized the special contributions of businesses, organizations and individuals that make our community a more welcoming, more accessible and more equitable place for people with disabilities.

The five award recipients for 2015 were AT&T; Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch; Jewish Federation of St. Louis; Logan University, College of Chiropractic; and The Muny.

The family of the late David B. Gray, Ph.D., received Paraquad’s Legacy of Excellence Award on his behalf. Gray, who passed away earlier this year, worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Award recipients were honored at a dinner gala on Nov. 4 at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.

Award winners are nominated by their peers based on accomplishments in areas that may include employment and hiring practices for people with disabilities, dedication to ensuring an accessible facility for all, disability-focused customer service training, support and advocacy for disability rights and services or similar contributions.

Paraquad is proud to “Shine the Light” on our partners whose efforts increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of life.

2015 Shine the Light Award Honorees

AT&T believes in the ability of all people. The company’s dedication to accessibility is evident in its products and services, and in how it hires, develops and engages employees with disabilities. From billing in braille to customized technologies, AT&T creates inclusive experiences for customers and employees so everyone can progress, grow and achieve.

Accessibility is one of AT&T’s core commitments. In 2012, the company launched the Corporate Accessibility Technology Office. The office leads AT&T’s efforts to design and develop products and services that address the needs of people with disabilities.

The company also maintains its awareness of the needs of customers with disabilities thanks, in part, to ongoing work with the disability community and the AT&T Advisory Panel on Access and Aging (AAPAA). Comprising national leaders in assistive technology, aging and cross-disability issues, the panel provides disability-related advice and counsel to AT&T leadership teams.

AT&T is a company that is inclusive of all backgrounds, races, genders, ages, disabilities and sexual orientations. The company’s goal is to promote diversity, inclusiveness and opportunities for employees to flourish.

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch is a part of Hyatt Hotels Corp., a leading global hospitality company with a proud heritage of caring for people so they can be their best.

Thousands of members of the Hyatt family strive to make a difference in the lives of the guests they encounter every day by providing authentic hospitality.

When people have the opportunity to realize their full potential, everyone benefits. Hyatt’s approach to diversity and inclusion has helped make it the company it is today.

Hyatt hotels are consistently recognized as leaders in promoting a nurturing, positive and diverse workplace environment. The company has received some of the most prestigious workplace distinctions, including Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Jewish Federation of St. Louis is the Jewish community’s central philanthropic, planning and community-building organization. Founded in 1901, it is one of the region’s most respected and effective nonprofit organizations.

Jewish Federation of St. Louis supports more than 90 agencies, programs and services in St. Louis and around the world to ensure a thriving Jewish community, respond to emergencies and care for our vulnerable.

As part of its mission, Jewish Federation of St. Louis created the Jewish Community Inclusion Initiative. The inclusion initiative promotes full participation in Jewish life for people with disabilities and their families by enhancing inclusion, providing resources and collaborating with existing services in the Jewish community.

Logan University is dedicated to maximizing human performance through innovative health education. Since 1935, Logan has remained grounded in chiropractic education, with its flagship Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Logan’s College of Chiropractic is constantly striving to offer a more robust and comprehensive student experience. The university pushes the envelope to secure immersive, collaborative and outcome-driven opportunities for students to learn beyond the classroom walls.

In 2012, Logan opened a community health center at Paraquad. The center allows a new rotation of Logan student interns to have the opportunity to provide hands-on chiropractic treatment to Paraquad participants.

The depth and complexity of care that comes from serving people of varying backgrounds, including people with disabilities, creates confident and proficient leaders.

The Muny has a longstanding tradition of providing exceptional musical theater that is accessible to the 300,000 guests, performers and staff members who take part in productions each summer.

Live audio descriptions during select performances provide vivid, narrative descriptions of scenery, costumes and the production on stage to audience members who are blind or visually impaired.

Performances presented in sign language connect audience members to the thrill of each production, and assisted listening devices make it possible for guests to enjoy the full power of live musical theater and a lush orchestra.

Wheelchair accessible seating with companion seating in all price ranges, including a free seat section, also removes economic barriers to access. Wheelchair attendants offer assistance to thousands of patrons throughout the season. Each summer, staffing and casting opportunities allow hundreds of people with disabilities to join in the creation of musical theater.

Through these efforts and through collaborations with Paraquad and other partners, The Muny continues to welcome all of its guests to celebrate and create live musical theater in a truly accessible environment.

David B. Gray, Ph.D., who passed away earlier this year, began changing what it meant to be disabled after he was paralyzed in 1976 in a fall from a roof that broke his neck.

As a professor of occupational therapy and of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, Gray worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people with disabilities. He initially joined the faculty in 1995 to conduct research and teach courses on social issues and disability.

Prior to coming to St. Louis, Gray worked for several agencies at the National Institutes of Health(NIH), was appointed director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research by President Ronald Reagan and was an important advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act of1990.

He was the visionary behind the internationally recognized Enabling Mobility Center, now called the Health and Wellness Center, at Paraquad. The center serves as a resource to promote overall physical health and emotional wellness for people with disabilities.

Students recall Gray focusing on what was needed in the disability community rather than what was easy. His legacy lives on in those students and thousands of others he taught at Washington University School of Medicine, including those who completed their research projects in his lab, affectionately known as “GrayLab.”

Following Gray’s death, a former student noted in a Facebook post, “If heaven didn’t have decent curb cuts before, you can be damn sure it does now.”