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County salutes its ‘champs’ at Disabilities Event---DJF Self-Advocate Paul Voss is Recognized!

Author: Northern Valley Suburbanite
Written On: Thu, 05 Nov 2009

October is designated as National Disability Month and Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney and the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders declared Oct. 30 as National Disability Day for 15 individuals and organizations committed to improving the lives of those with disabilities and those living with disabilities in the 11th Annual Salute to Champions awards and breakfast event.

"We’re really recognizing the selfless acts of certain individuals and to celebrate the people of advocacy for disabilities and their endless contributions they make throughout – not just today – but the year," said McNerney.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg was also on the list of VIPs that attended the special celebration and expressed her astonishment in the county’s growing Division of Disability Services, who served under former Bergen County State Sen. Jeremiah O’Connor’s County Freeholder administration when the division was created in 1978.

"For me, to see the office grow to this extent and to be able to see so many people honored for their advocacy for disabilities is amazing," said Weinberg. "I think it’s more important to have role models for people who have disabilities and to honor those people who have spearheaded advocacy for disabilities."

One of the inspirational champions awarded was Fort Lee resident T. Paul Voss, a self-advocate of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJF) – an all-volunteer national autism organization in creating opportunities for adolescents to adults living with autism. He helped develop Garage Theater, a special theater program for adults with Asperger Syndrome, in conjunction with DJF.
Challenged by Asperger Syndrome, Voss explained his world "as if you were living in a country you don’t know and didn’t know the language." He claimed himself as a "work in progress" but theater is what gets him going and makes him whole.

"I love theater and you can be whoever you want to be but the true nature of success is that art imitates life," said Voss. "It means life first. Live in the present moment positively."

President of DJF Linda Walder Fiddle complimented Voss’ success as an inspiration to the entire community!"