West Bloomfield resident, Teddy Fitzmaurice, can add the 2013 Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) Dan Moran Award for Inclusion & Advocacy to his growing list of impressive accomplishments as a champion for the rights of people who have disabilities.
Fitzmaurice is an energetic entrepreneur who promotes human rights disability advocacy; lives a full life; and strives for independence in every way. He also has Down syndrome and receives assistance from Community Living Services/Oakland County.
“Teddy’s life is a wonderful example of Self-Determination at its best, and how creative planning and supports focused on a person’s individual strengths and interests can lead to awesome outcomes,” says Community Living Services-Oakland County Executive Director, Annette Downey.
Fitzmaurice was presented the Dan Moran in front of approximately 500 people who attended OCCMHA’s Annual Self-Determination Conference at The Somerset Inn in Troy on Monday, August 19, 2013. The award was established in memory of former OCCMHA Recipients Right Trainer, Dan Moran, to honor individuals receiving support from Oakland County’s public health system whose actions raise awareness and educate others about mental health or developmental disabilities.
“Thank you very much for giving me this award,” an emotional Teddy told conference attendees. “I am so happy and proud. I'm going to Washington, D.C. for you so people know us. Lead On!”
Admired qualities exhibited by Dan Moran winners like Fitzmaurice include demonstrating leadership by embracing the meaning of having a disability and the desire of inclusion through positive interaction; encouraging the best in others and helping them fulfill their potential; and serving as a role model, mentor, and volunteer to show good citizenship.Fitzmaurice’s creative methods to share his vision and passion for advocacy are evident in his handcrafted, Teddy’s Ts t-shirt and button designs, representing all that Dan Moran stood for – improved quality of life, social justice, and equality for all. He promotes community living, Self- Determination, inclusive education, and person first language with memorable language that boasts: “Label Jars, Not People” and “Shred the R word.”
Fitzmaurice has spoken at Michigan statewide Self-Determination Leadership Seminars, the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Spring Conference, the National Arc Conference, the Society for Disability Studies, numerous high school transition programs, and many more public forums. His microenterprise t-shirt and button business - Teddy's Ts (www.TeddysTs.com) features website and in-person sales at events and conferences.
As the recipient of this year’s Dan Moran Award, Fitzmaurice will accompany OCCMHA Executive Director, Jeffrey L. Brown, during “Hill Day” next September in Washington D.C. This event is held to educate Congress members about important issues related to persons who have disabilities.About OCCMHA
Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority is the public mental health system responsible for identifying, influencing, and delivering services and supports to approximately 22,000 Oakland County residents, including adults and children with developmental disabilities; adults with serious mental illness or substance use disorders; and children with serious emotional disturbance.
OCCMHA’s network of service providers include: Common Ground, Community Housing Network, Community Living Services, Community Network Services, Easter Seals Michigan, Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, Oakland Family Services, Inc., and Training and Treatment Innovations. For more information about OCCMHA call (800) 341-2003 or visit www.occmha.org.