SAN ANTONIO – Tuesday, July 31, has been set as 2018 nominations deadline for the Morgan’s Wonderland Wall of Fame, which honors individuals from coast to coast who have distinguished themselves in doing great things for people with special needs.
“Each year, we shine the spotlight on five heroes who’ve gone above and beyond to befriend the special-needs community,” said Ron Morander, general manager of the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone. “These extraordinary men and women clearly exhibit qualities such as caring, determination, sacrifice and, above all, inclusion.”
The five honorees will be recognized at the 9th Annual Free to Soar Gala and new Luau by the Lake on Saturday evening, Sept. 22, at Morgan’s Wonderland and new Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park in San Antonio. Their names will be placed on the Wall of Fame located in the heart of the 25-acre theme park for thousands of guests to see.
Both the gala and luau will raise funds to support the non-profit, world-renowned, ultra-accessible™ parks, plus The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland school for students with special needs and The Bridge at Morgan’s Wonderland that prepares older students for adulthood and possible employment.
A committee from Morgan’s Wonderland and The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, along with special advisors, will review nominations of not more than 200 words submitted to http://MorgansWonderland.com/wall-of-fame-nominations.
“Though we recognize that an individual might be a true inspiration or a hero to his or her family members, we’re looking for honorees that’ve had a dramatic and extraordinary impact on many lives,” Morander said. “For example, it might be a student who, regardless of a disability, perseveres at school and inspires other students; a military member injured in the line of duty who embraces life despite immense physical challenges and serves as an incredible role model for others; a dedicated employee with special needs who has earned the admiration of a supervisor and peers for a job exceedingly well done; a caregiver who has sacrificed tremendously to make a difference for those with special needs; or someone who works directly on behalf of the special-needs community to provide valuable services or other forms of assistance.”
“In addition to our traditional gala that we’ve hosted for almost 600 people for the past eight years, we’ll be expanding to accommodate another 300 supporters at Morgan’s Inspiration Island,” Morander explained. “The luau and the gala in the Morgan’s Wonderland Event Center will be linked via giant LED screens so no guest will miss any of the excitement.”
Other highlights will include a live auction and a 25th birthday celebration for Morgan Hartman, daughter of Gordon and Maggie Hartman whose ability to deal with physical and cognitive challenges inspired her parents to pursue major initiatives that help people with special needs.
To purchase sponsorships or tickets, go to www.MorgansWonderland.com/get-involved/gala-and-luau.
Morgan’s Wonderland offers more than 25 attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens. Last year, it was proclaimed “Park of the Year” during the prestigious Golden Ticket Awards hosted by Amusement Today, a publication covering the international theme parks and attractions industry. Morgan’s Inspiration Island, which opened last June, offers five colorful splash pads, the River Boat Adventure ride and revolutionary waterproof wheelchairs. It earned the World Waterpark Association’s Leading Edge Award.
Both parks recently received the Paralyzed Veterans of America organization’s 2018 Barrier-Free America award. Specifics about the parks’ days and hours of operation, admissions and special events are available at www.MorgansWonderland.com, while information about The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland can be found at www.MorgansWonderland.academy.
Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inspiration Island and The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland are located in Northeast San Antonio a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive. For more information, call (210) 495-5888.