On Friday, Oct. 14, Empower held a lunch at the Four Points by Sheraton in Niagara Falls. Seven individuals/organizations/businesses were honored, including two Lewiston-Porter students, for their work on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Matthew Minderler received the Inspiring Individual Award for his ingenuity and perseverance over significant challenges associated with spinal muscular atrophy. He graduated from Lewiston-Porter High School in June.
Charles Dieteman, a student at Lewiston-Porter Middle School, received the Junior Leading Luminary for his efforts to increase awareness of cerebral palsy and to raise funds for Empower's programs.
Mark Laurrie, superintendent of the Niagara Falls City School District, received the Leading Luminary Award for his longstanding commitment to inclusion for students with disabilities.
The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, represented by Executive Director Tracy Sawicki, received the Faithful Funder Award for its ongoing support of Empower (with support totaling more than $125,000).
The Parent Network of Western New York, represented by Executive Director Susan Barlow, received the Priceless Partner Award for its collaboration with Empower on a variety of initiatives, including a monthly support group for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder.
C& W Services, represented by Robert Gordon, received the Exceptional Employer Award for employing five individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who receive supported employment services through Empower's job training division.
Matrix Imaging Solutions, represented by Dave Basta, received the Committed Contractor Award for providing contracted work for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who receive employment services from Empower's job training division to help with large mailings.