Disability Awareness Event

Congressman Jim Clyburn was the guest speaker at the Community Disability Awareness Event which was held at the Matthews Center June 2.

Clyburn ‘s opening remarks were filled with admiration for Bamberg County Disabilities and Special Needs Board’s Executive Director, Gloria James.

“Gloria is my longtime friend. She has stuck with this for a long time and I admire her for this. She has a commitment and it is not about what’s in it for her. It is about the community and the cause for this need. This is the kind of thing that keeps communities together. I know what it is like to represent communities; I remember so well how excited people get. Who knows what the future holds. Each and every one of us is just one circumstance away from a disability,” said Clyburn.

Clyburn went on to say that he did not understand how public officials could not recognize these type needs. He remembered when he approached the state government abut the South Carolina Bill of Rights for Handicapped People. “The government needs to think about the disabilities of the handicapped,” said Clyburn.

Bamberg County DSN Board Chairperson, Emily Guess, was one of the founders who helped to organize and start the center 34 years ago.

“We kind of changed the world for people here in Bamberg County. People were not able to go to work and had to stay home because of a disabled person that had to be taken care of. If I see a need, I try to address it and there was a need for people with disabilities in Bamberg County,” said Guess.

Gloria James told Clyburn they were honored to have him on this special occasion to help bring the community together and to heighten the awareness of the disabilities. She urged everyone to wrap their arms around these individuals with disabilities and offer them a job and to help meet their needs.

“On behalf of the DSN Board of Directors, we present this to you today for all that you have done for us,” said James while presenting Congressman Clyburn with a beautiful print.

At the end of the meeting, BSN Chairperson Guess surprised James by presenting her with a plaque for a job well done.

The Bamberg County DSN Board has provided services to persons with disabilities in Bamberg County for the past 34 years.

Its mission is promoting public policies, plans and practices that prevent and reduce the impact of mental retardation, developmental disabilities, autism, spinal cord and brain injuries. The Board is empowering and assisting people with special needs to exercise their rights to contribute and achieve interdependence, independence and inclusion in the community and society.