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View the 2018 Wall of Fame Honorees
SAN ANTONIO – Saturday, June 15, has been set as 2019 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, chief operating officer of the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone in an atmosphere of inclusion. “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 10th Annual Free to Soar Gala on Saturday evening, Sept. 21, at world-renowned, ultra-accessible™ Morgan’s Wonderland and 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. Proceeds from the gala will enable the non-profit park to continue admitting anyone with a physical or cognitive disability free of charge.
A committee from Morgan’s Wonderland and The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, along with special advisors, will review nominations of not more than two typewritten pages submitted to www.MorgansWonderland.com/gala/. Gala sponsorships or tickets also can be purchased online, and gala questions can be addressed to Becky Thomas at (210) 493-2811 or becky@GordonHartman.com.
“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 have 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.”
Gala guest speaker will be Jessica Rafuse, senior program manager within the Office of the Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft in Seattle. She is responsible for Microsoft’s strategic engagement with organizations that focus on people with disabilities and accessibility.
Other gala highlights will include a silent auction and raffle as well as a 26th birthday celebration for Morgan Hartman, daughter of Gordon and Maggie Hartman. Morgan’s ability to deal with physical and cognitive challenges inspired her parents to pursue major initiatives that help people with special needs.
Morgan’s Wonderland offers more than 25 attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens. Its sister park, Morgan’s Inspiration Island, includes five colorful splash pads, the River Boat Adventure ride and revolutionary waterproof wheelchairs. Both parks earned the Paralyzed Veterans of America organization’s 2018 Barrier-Free America award, and TIME Magazine named Morgan’s Inspiration Island to its list of the World’s 100 Greatest Places.
Specifics about the parks’ days and hours of operation, admissions and special events are available at www.MorgansWonderland.com. Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island 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