Sarnia-Lambton Recognizes Mayor with Hero Award

Mike Bradley has 'changed the lives of many local residents'
Monday June 14, 2010 -- Natalie Hamilton

Community Living Sarnia-Lambton (CLSL) is saluting a local mayor touted as "a champion for people living with disabilities."

The association tipped its hat to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley by presenting him with a hero award recently. CLSL honoured Bradley "for his endless contribution and promotion of community inclusion and employment of persons with disabilities," says Bob Vansickle, supervisor of community employment options at CLSL.

"Bradley exemplifies what it means to be a hero," Vansickle says. 

"He has changed the lives of many local residents with disabilities and is now changing those who live across the province."

Locally, several people who have a disability work for the city of Sarnia and private businesses. Lambton County encompasses 126,000 people and 116 of the community's employers hire people who have a disability. 

It all began about 10 years ago when the local Downtown Business Improvement Area was about to fold and Bradley went to bat for two men working to beautify the downtown core. The mayor ensured they kept their jobs and the city continues to build inclusive workplaces.

"Bradley has promoted the hiring of persons with disabilities in the community in many capacities. He has partnered with CLSL on various federally-funded projects, endorsed hiring of students with disabilities and attended numerous events promoting disability issues," Vansickle explains.

At a provincial level, earlier this year Bradley extended a dare to all Ontario mayors to hire people who have a disability, lending his support behind an initiative organized by Vansickle, who is also co-chairperson of the Ontario Disability Employment Network.

Since then, Bradley has spent many evenings volunteering his time by sharing advice with service providers on how to get their respective municipalities on board to hire.

Vansickle points out as a result of Bradley's challenge, more than a dozen cities have started including people who have a disability as part of their workforces. 

"When you hear (Bradley) discuss the commitment that's needed to see that persons with disabilities lead inclusive, fulfilled lives you can hear the passion in his voice," Vansickle says. 

"Bradley is a champion for people living with disabilities."

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Reproduced from http://www.communitylivingontario.ca/news-events/news/sarnia-lambton-recognizes-mayor-hero-award

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