Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Disabilities Awareness Day Scheduled in Avalon Nov. 14


By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN — Paulann Pierson, coordinator of the Cape May County Office of Disability Services, went before freeholders Tuesday, Oct. 27 to update them about the Saturday, Nov. 14 Disabilities Awareness Day in Avalon.
Since more than 19,000 county residents have some disability, the event should be well attended. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To enable those who cannot or do not drive, Fare Free Transportation will provide rides to Avalon Community Center, 30th and beach.
Pierson, who displayed a bag that will be given to all attendees to gather information they receive at the event, also received a copy of the freeholders’ enabling resolution that marks the special day.
About 50 exhibitors have indicated plans to attend.
“It’s a challenge,” Pierson admitted, since this will be the first of its kind in the county. It was also noted that Cape May was the last county in the state to create an Office of Disability Services.
Freeholder Gerald Thornton lauded Pierson’s work with county residents who have disabilities. “She works very hard to coordinate disability programs throughout the county,” he said.
Thornton also cited Pierson’s bi-weekly column on disabilities, “Opening Doors,” in this newspaper as a way she reaches to the community to enlighten the public. He also thanked the Herald for publishing the column.
Pierson said those planning to attend via Fare Free Transportation need to alert that office one week in advance instead of the usual two days for scheduling reasons. She appreciated Fare Free Transportation’s effort, especially since most drivers do not work Saturdays, to transport attendees.
Pierson cited the help of Avalon Recreation Director David Haberle and his staff “who have been wonderful,” she said. They will do setup of the hall as well as cleanup. “They made things come together with a low budget,” she added.
In addition to vendors, and health screenings, provided through Cape Regional Medical Center’s Parish Nurse program, (including blood pressure and cholesterol), speakers for the event will include Lighthouse Church Pastor Rudy Sheptock and Sean O’Donnell, who trains disabled pilots for affordable fees, she said.
Sarah Matthews, of The Arc of Cape May County, will attend to personally enlist those with disabilities onto the county’s special evacuation list. That list enables emergency crews to assist persons with disabilities from their homes, should storms or other disasters mandate they evacuate.
Through efforts of Pete Gilson of Woodbine, the Cape May County String Band will provide entertainment at the center.
Pierson said funding for the special program was from 1st Bank of Sea Isle City, CapeBank and Sturdy Savings Bank.
For information about the event, contact Pierson at (609) 465-4117.

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