Cranston, RI – On March 14, Governor Lincoln Chafee joined Craig Stenning at a ceremony honoring former Congressman John E. Fogarty and Frank Olean in the lobby of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH). Director Stenning presented the first annual Fogarty-Olean awards to the families of John E. Fogarty and Frank Olean.
Congressman Fogarty began his work in this area meeting with parents of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Many advances in the field were due to his influence. Frank Olean, one of the founders of the Olean Center and its first president, devoted over 35 years of his life to advocating for those with developmental disabilities (DD).
"Each year, this award will be given to a person who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities," said Craig Stenning. "We have named the award in honor of John E. Fogarty and Frank Olean because we recognize the immeasurable contributions these men have made. They worked tirelessly for individuals with developmental disabilities, and their advocacy underscores the important role that families and parents play in transforming our system of care. We established this award to honor their legacy and to encourage a new generation of community leaders, family members and parents to speak out on behalf of those who often are not heard."
"Rhode Island is a better state due to the historic work done by Congressman John E. Fogarty and Frank Olean," said Governor Chafee.
Mary Fogarty McAndrew, CEO of the John E. Fogarty Foundation for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and daughter of John E. Fogarty, accepted the award on behalf of her family. Bruce Olean, son of Frank Olean, accepted the award for his family.
Guest speakers included Governor Lincoln Chafee, Dennis DeJesus, CEO of Rhode Island Special Olympics, James Healey, BHDDH Director Craig Stenning and Samantha Smalley, graduate of the Leadership Series at Advocates in Action.
About the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. BHDDH is committed to assuring access to quality services and supports for Rhode Islanders with developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse issues and chronic, long-term medical and psychiatric conditions. In addition to planning for the development of new services and prevention activities, the department's mission includes addressing the stigma attached to these disabilities.