In 2005 ARC of Oswego County established the Dr. John J. Readling Award to honor Dr. Readling. A professor at SUNY Oswego, and a long time ARC board member, Dr. Readling and his wife Mary were parents of a child with disabilities. Readling helped establish space and staff for ARC and continued to be a vital force in the agency’s growth. “John was a gentle giant in the world of advocacy for people with disabilities,” said Kurtzman. “His commitment was to the growth and success of the agency and allowed many in need to access much needed services. So much of what we do here at ARC of Oswego County, and what we do well, is based on Dr. Readling’s groundbreaking ideas about what services for individuals with disabilities could be.”
The Dr. John J. Readling Award was created at ARC of Oswego County to recognize individuals who carry on Dr. Readling’s spirit in providing services and opportunities to individuals with disabilities and their families. Candidates are evaluated on their dedication to the work; their willingness to advocate on behalf of those with
disabilities; and their vision in working towards a future of increased individual growth, independence and productivity for those they serve. Each year Mary Readling and her son, Thomas, whose birth sparked the Readling’s efforts towards quality education for those with disabilities, present the Dr. John J. Readling Award on behalf of ARC of Oswego County to the deserving recipient.
In his book, Three Good Men, Dr. Nash reminisces about his professional and personal relationship with the Readlings and how that relationship influenced his own life. His memories of the Readlings focuses on how the couple’s determined efforts to receive services for their son were instrumental in the development of ARC of Oswego County.
“Many of the people who originally worked with John are retiring now, and we began to realize that at some future point, we may be giving this award to people who never knew him at all. We have purchased a number of copies of Three Good Men so that recipients of the Dr. John J. Readling Award may also receive a copy of the book. The presentation of Dr. Nash’s book, along with the award, is a wonderful way to share John’s spirit, determination, and insight with people for many, many years to come,” explained Kurtzman.
A leader in the provision of services to individuals with disabilities since 1955, ARC of Oswego County is a private, not-for-profit organization. Their mission is to be a leader in the field of developmental disabilities, committed to meeting the needs of individual growth, productivity, and independence through education, advocacy, and increased community acceptance and participation. For more information on ARC of Oswego County you may contact them at 598-3108.