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2018 ADA Anniversary Celebration



Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 

Thank you for joining us to celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Center for Independent Living Disability Resource Center (CILDRC)  Annual ADA Anniversary Celebration and Volunteer Awards Luncheon on July 12, 2018. It is with sincere appreciation and gratitude for your investment in people with disabilities and the future of CILDRC programming and inclusive access throughout our community, that we say thank you!  We thank all who have made contributions, including speakers, volunteers, sponsors, donors, celebrity servers, CILDRC Board members and staff.  We could not do what we do without each of YOU.

2018 Proclamation Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties

Left to Right: Santa Rosa Commissioner Rob Williamson, Carolyn Grawi, Executive Director, CILDRC,
Escambia Board of County Commissioners, Grover Robinson, and Pensacola City Council, Sherri Myers

Congratulations to the 2018 award recipients.  The diverse background and commitment to our community was demonstrated through this year’s recipients. We look forward to continued spirited involvement in our community.

Joe Oldmixon Award for Outstanding Service to People with Disabilities

Left to right: Sonya Daniel, Escambia County Elections Office, Dr. Vannee Cao-Nguyen, Associate Vice President, University of West Florida, Beth Saier, Board of Directors, CILDRC and Carolyn Grawi, Executive Director, CILDRC

The 2018 Joe Oldmixon Award for Outstanding Service to People with Disabilities is awarded to Dr. Vannee Cao-Nguyen, Associate Vice President, University of West Florida 

Dr. Vannee Cao-Nguyen currently serves as the Associate Vice President of the Division of Academic Engagement at the University of West Florida. Dr. Cao-Nguyen previously served as the director of the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC). During her ten years with the SDRC she made significant improvements to the service received by students with disabilities. She implemented the use of an online data management system that has streamlined services and fought for increased staffing to better serve our students. She developed the Argos for Autism Program to provide additional support for UWF students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Although there was no direct funding to support the program, she implemented a foundation account to support activities for the students. The Argos for Autism Program she developed has been featured in multiple articles and is currently listed as #2 on the “20 Best Value Colleges for Students with Autism 2017-2018” (  Dr. Cao-Nguyen has served on several committees and led multiple campus-wide campaigns to increase accessibility for all students, including a “Got Captions?” campaign to increase captioned videos campus-wide. In her new role as associate vice president, she continues to advocate for equal accessibility at an administrative level. Her passion and dedication has laid the foundation that continues today. She encourages everyone to always “think accessibility” and to not only make things accessible through universal design, but to provide clear ways for individuals to request assistance for any unique needs. She knows that each individual is unique and that their needs should be considered individually. Dr. Cao-Nguyen has exemplified the virtues of Mr. Oldmixon with the dedication to truth, honesty, family and faith.

2018 Spirit of CIL Award

Left to Right: Jobenna Lawson-Sellers, Escambia Westgate School, Beth Saier, Board of Directors, CILDRC and Carolyn Grawi, Executive Director, CILDRC, and Rachel Payne, ESE Teacher Escambia Westgate School.

2018 Spirit of CIL Award to Principal Jobenna Lawson-Sellers, Escambia Westgate School.

Jobenna Lawson-Sellers works tirelessly as Principal of Escambia Westgate School to help every student achieve his or her maximum potential.  She believes every student has potential and encourages her staff to always believe that the students are capable and to see their abilities instead of their disabilities.  She works with teachers and therapists to develop creative solutions to challenges in the learning environment.  She is an advocate in both her school and the school district for her students to be afforded very opportunity that their typically developing peers would have.  Mrs. Sellers seeks to find out “how” a student can do something or learn something as independently as possible.  She’s never met a challenge that she did not conquer.  She always has time to listen to both students and teachers when they need her kind and gentle ear.  She’s always there for support, and her kind spirit and gleeful attitude rubs off on others.  She makes others happy just by being herself.  She encourages students to work with their teachers and therapists to develop the best learning plan for each individual student.  She believes and tells everyone that “presume competence” is our motto.  Presume competence is what drives her in her quest for all students to learn and grow at Escambia Westgate School.

2018 Volunteer of the Year

Left to Right: Mary Anderson, Stacy David, Capstone Adaptive Therapy and Learning Centers, Beth Saier, Board of Directors, CILDRC and Carolyn Grawi, Executive Director, CILDRC, and Larry Anderson

The 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to Larry and Mary Anderson. 

Larry joined Capstone’s Board in 2012, becoming Chairman in 2017. Annually, he volunteers over 100 hours during special events and guides the organization with his vast expertise and experience (retired military and real estate broker).  He hosted Capstone’s 2017 Strategic Planning session with staff and board members to project Capstone’s growth for the next 10 years. He supports Capstone’s annual golf tournament by selling tee signs, donating beverages/prizes and greeting 150 players/vendors.  Larry and his wife, Mary (retired FBI) are participants and supporters of Capstone’s “Wine a Little, Dine A Lot” dinner.  They assist in securing auction items and host at least one or two tables each year for friends and colleagues. The Andersons helped raise over $265,000 since 2012 from these two events for children and students with developmental disabilities attending Capstone’s many programs. The Andersons have adopted Capstones’s six group homes and makes homemade lasagna and cookies along with salad and bread every two weeks for the past year for 30 students.  This not only provides a delicious meal for residents of the homes, but gives caregivers an occasional break from cooking for the evening.  Larry and Mary are true advocates for people with disabilities.

Left to Right: Patricia Jernigan, Beth Saier, Board of Directors, CILDRC and Carolyn Grawi, Executive Director, CILDRC, Julia Jernigan, Cheri Hofmann

Lifetime Achievement Award to the family of Warren Jernigan

Warren Hamilton Jernigan was dedicated to affecting change for people disabilities throughout our Gulf Coast and the State of Florida. He spent many days, weeks and more at the Capitol in Tallahassee, where he would meet with representatives to lobby for the rights of people with disabilities in employment, transportation and equal rights. Many of us know the different faces of Warren Jernigan, his involvement with the City of Pensacola, Escambia County Disability Awareness Committee, Disability Summit Council, CIL Disability Resource Center, Pensacola Transportation, Vocational Rehabilitation, the City Council and County Commissioners, and so much more. Warren had a wonderful, colorful life. Even though we all feel the loss and will miss him, we won’t forget him or the impact he had in our lives.

If you have not already done so, it’s not too late to keep the promise of the ADA.  Please take an opportunity to support the future programs and services throughout the CILDRC by donating at Center for Independent Living Disability Resource Center by clicking on the Donate Button on the right hand top of page.

We are appreciative of BreAnna Clark who volunteered from the Pensacola Chamber to take these photos for us.  Please click this link to view pictures to view the pictures of this ADA celebration.

We would like to thank all our sponsors 


IT Solutions Logo            Networks of Florida Logo

Aleisia Ross

Ann Hill

Anna Higgins

Anytime Fitness

Ardye Graham

Beau Rivage Resort and Casino

Bodacious Olive

Carole Cox

Carraba’s Italian Grill

Combined Insurance Services

Dondie Roper

Fast Eddie’s


First Pentecostal Church

Go Retro Tours

Highpointe Hotel Corporation

ITL Solutions

IP Casino and Resort

Julia Jernigan

Kim K. Eniekeiff, CPA

Mary Ann and Frank Grawi

Networks of Florida

Michael and Melissa Pino

OWA Amusement Park

Pensacola Little Theatre

Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Rodizio Grill

Shan Kishi

Silver Slipper Casino

Scenic Hills Country Club

Southern Aerobatics/Coastal


The Fishing Hole

Tim Godwin

Tricia Green

Walmart-Tiger Point

William Holiday

William Simmons

Wind Creek Casino and Hotel