National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2012
October has become the kick-off month for year-round programs that highlight the abilities and skills of Americans with disabilities.
The Pacific Region Division of Fishery Resources recognizes that fishing opportunities, like the workplace, should be accessible to people with disabilities. On Friday, October 9, 2012, the Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery in Cook, WA, and Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery in Leavenworth, WA, hosted individual fishing events for disabled military veterans and Leavenworth-area disabled and elderly persons, respectively.
Little White Salmon NFH teamed up the Pacific Region's Division of Diversity and Civil Rights, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to bring OCVA members to the recently-opened Drano Lake Fishing Platform for a day of fishing. Fall Chinook salmon are returning to Drano Lake, and the platform, located on Hatchery property, provides disabled anglers with a great opportunity to catch one. WDFW issued a one-day permit for the event, while the Service provided fishing gear and angling advice.
Further north, Leavenworth NFH partnered with Friends of Northwest Hatcheries, the Icicle Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Cascade Discovery High School to bring 24 disabled and elderly adults to the hatchery to fish rainbow trout. The anglers caught 78 fish ranging in size from half a pound to two pounds, which volunteers helped clean and prepare for dinner. Participants also landed prizes and a framed photo of themselves with their catch.
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Learn more about National Disability Awareness Month, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America, or see pictures on Facebook of the Leavenworth NFH's 2012 Elderly and Disabled Persons Fishing Day, visit these links: