Senate Honors Oneonta Man With Special Award

James L. Seward

May 20, 2005

State Senator James L. Seward today announced that Chris Vance of Oneonta had been selected as a recipient of the New York State Senate Achievers’ Award. The prestigious award recognizes an individual’s ability to overcome personal physical challenges and honors his accomplishments on behalf of his community.

"The Achievers’ Award is an honor that recognizes the triumph of individuals over sometimes daunting physical challenges and is bestowed on those whose efforts serve as an example of courage, personal excellence and achievement for our entire community," said Senator Seward. "I’m especially pleased to honor Chris Vance."

For seven years, Vance had lived independently in Binghamton. A mental breakdown sparked Vance's regression in his ability to independently care for himself, requiring structured assistance in a more restrictive residential placement. Being a mildly developmentally disabled man with a history of seizures and bi-polar disorders posed a multitude of stumbling blocks to Vance's plan of being once again independent in the community.

In 2001, Vance moved into an apartment in Oneonta, which was established by the Upstate Homes for Children and Adults. He worked on skills which would once again empower him to achieve his goal of living independently in the community. Skills of self-administration of medications, personal hygiene, community integration, employment, and budgeting were his focus to help him stay on course.

In 2003, Vance was married to his girlfriend Janet, in Oneonta. Although his parents moved to Michigan, Vance remains settled in Oneonta, holds a job at the ARC Otsego Sheltered Work Center, and acts as a role model to his peers. He also has a part time job cutting the lawn at the Upstate Home for Children's apartment house.

Vance enjoys being a CB operator, playing pool and cards, piloting antique race boats and flying to Michigan to visit his parents. He is an active member of St. James Episcopal Church in Oneonta.
Vance will be recognized in a special ceremony Tuesday, May 24, at the Capitol in Albany, where he will be presented with an Achiever's Award and Senate Proclamation.

The New York State Senate Achievers’ Awards are presented each year in conjunction with Senate Disability Awareness Day, an annual event sponsored by the Senate to raise public awareness of the efforts and accomplishments of citizens with physical disabilities.