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Community leaders with developmental disabilities honoured

The Grande Prairie and District Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities handed out a number of awards over the weekend.

Dean Fritsma and Elizabeth Ramsankar were each named Person of the Year.

Fritsma is considered a role model, working for Alberta Health Services for six years, and Ramsankar has worked at Subway for 14 years and is a member of the Special Olympics Team.

Also honoured Friday was Jonathan Lorentzen, who volunteers for Joy Chapel.

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He was given the Community Citizenship Award for helping create a positive community for persons with disabilities.

Individual Leadership Awards were handed out to Gary Jantz and Tarah Patterson for helping make the city a better place.

Jantz is described as courteous, compassionate, and an advocate for others, and is a member of Special Olympics and works at Red Rock.

Patterson campaigns for affordable and accessible mental health supports and in the Co-Chair of PDD Northwest’s Self Advocates.

The Family Leadership Award was also given to Connie and Gary McGovern, who have generously opened their house to accommodate other families who have adults with developmental disabilities.

Lastly, three Community Disability Service Sector Leadership Awards were among those handed out.

Northern Lights Ranch was recognized for the outdoor activities is offers like hunting, fishing, and camping.

Sarah Christie-Wurz, who works at Goodwill, was thanked for going above and byond to make people feel valued and loved, while Shannon Websdale of Accredited Supportive Living Service was acknowledged for developing a 76 unit Designated Supportive Living Facility in Grimshaw, as well as social gathering places.

Each of the local winners have also been nominated for a provincial PDD Community Leadership Award, given out this fall.

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