Manassas, Virginia--December 16, 2014. On behalf of Independence Empowerment Center, the Senator Charles J. Colgan Advocacy award was given to Catherine Morretta, Parks and Recreation Director of Manassas Park Community Center. The award is bestowed annually by the center for independent living, which serves Prince William and Fauquier Counties, Manassas and Manassas Park.
What sets Catherine Morretta apart to warrant this award? When the new Community Center was built for Manassas Park, Morretta made sure that right from the start it would be accessible for people with disabilities. The accessibility features run from the simple what-every-new-structure-should-have (such as wide doorways) to simple considerations such as clear spaces to reach weight equipment, to those that put them ahead of the game by having pool lifts even before the time ran out to have them (some hotels/motels are still fighting having them) and finally to their amazing Miracle Field which was the first one in our area.
The award is named for Senator Charles J. Colgan, who has long been a friend to the disability community. He has been a strong advocate of disability related issues in the Senate including financial, employment and rights of people with disabilities Senator Colgan has followed and been a part of the activities of Independence Empowerment Center (IEC) since it first started more than 17 years ago. IEC’s mission is to support, empower, and provide options to people with disabilities. IEC helps people to gain access to services appropriate to their needs, exercise their civil rights, participate in all aspects of society, and advocate their value to society.
The award was presented at IEC’s annual holiday open house on Wednesday, December 16th in Manassas. Senator Colgan was represented at the event by his sister, Mary Finnigan, and Morretta was accompanied by the Manassas Park City Manager, Kimberly Alexander.
Pictured: Kim Alexander, Catherine Morretta Ray Beverage
Dr. Lopez and Mary Finnigan