Each year, at Partners in Policymaking graduation, the South Dakota Advocacy Services Governing Board presents an Advocacy Award. It is given in recognition for exceptional, positive, visible and lasting contribution to the disability and greater community.
Recipients for 2010 are the Haug family: Reed and Beth from Hermosa; Dillon from Spearfish; and Jason and Brandon from Vermillion. The Haug family are former Custer residents and all three children graduated from Custer High School. The Haug family received the award in Sioux Falls at the Partners in Policymaking banquet on April 24. Over 275 people attended and Lt. Governor Dennis Daugaard of Garretson was the keynote speaker.
Robert J. Kean, executive director of SD Advocacy, notes "You can use many different measures to note success. By whatever measure we use to describe this year's award recipient there are recurring themes. There is dedicated accomplishment towards family and others. There is a genuine and living belief that the uniqueness and dignity of each person must be valued. There is a forceful rejection of the stunning and ignorant myths that individuals with disabilities should not have high expectations. There is a quiet determination to effect change whenever and however."
These themes are readily evidenced in the many and varied pursuits collectively undertaken by this year's recipient. Successfully accomplishing a lengthy list of challenging activities and contributions certainly demonstrates the recipient's many skills and leadership qualities. They also point out a steadfastness and dedication to a vision, desire and commitment to share and be involved. An involvement that challenges and loudly declares "this is possible – this can be done – let's get going.
"The recipient's collective accomplishments and contributions are many and reflect an immense pride of family and community that is best described as remarkable. The accomplishments reflect participation in all aspects of the emerging, developing and evolving dynamic of disability in South Dakota for many years. From the moment of surviving severe multiple traumas began the continuing challenge to support, learn, grow personally and assist others. Looking outward the recipient collectively demonstrated a willingness to assist by sharing with others the understanding and reality of a disability," Kean said.
It included leading schools and educational organizations to a greater realization of their potential to provide appropriate education services. It included making work areas and areas of public accommodation fully accessible and inviting to everyone. It included taking on the challenges and demands of state and national level offices and the role of emerging leader of organizations dedicated to assisting persons with disabilities. It included taking on the personal risk of being in the public eye while talking frankly about disabilities and pursuing personal and social interests, professional work and career building experiences and opportunities. And at all times, it includes looking to pursue change in the world around us.
Patricia Riibe, Yankton, board president, said, "The recipient approaches each day as another opportunity to challenge our complacency. Living the vision of "what's possible" demonstrates a unique insightfulness, willingness to change and sharing of experiences. In accepting the many challenges and risks of involvement, this year's recipient firmly believes in being proactive and is an example for each of us."
South Dakota Advocacy Services is the state protection & advocacy for individuals with disabilities. Offices are located in Pierre,