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Somerset County Presents Citations to Disability Advocates Awards Winners

The Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services selected winners of the 2012 Disability Advocates Awards in October in celebration of Disability Awareness Month.  At a recent freeholders’ meeting, the Somerset County Board of Freeholders presented citations to the winners of the two categories: Individual and Business / Organization.

The awards recognize individuals and companies that contribute to persons with disabilities by working in the areas of advocacy, service and inclusion.

Gualberto “Gil” Malave of Raritan, holding the citation, was selected in the Individual category. Mr. Malave has dedicated his life to helping disabled veterans build self-esteem and follow a healing path through wood  turning.  He also has helped veterans receive assistance from the Veterans Administration to pursue positive outlets for their creativity. The citation was presented by Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh. Mr. Malave was joined by Somerset County Disabilities Coordinator Mark Malone and James Paliani of Raritan, far right, who nominated him for the award. 

AIP (Anything is Possible) of Bridgewater was selected in the Business / Organization category. AIP came about when Venita Martin’s son overcame autism and she wanted to spread the word that children with autism could do more than what had previously been expected of them and that anything is possible. Ms. Martin formed AIP to assist caregivers in obtaining available resources for children with autism.  Ms. Martin is pictured holding the citation.