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September 20, 2018

Task Force Recognizes Local ‘Friends of Autism’


FULTON, NY – Recently, the Oswego County Autism Task Force held a reception to honor its nominees and winners of the “Friend of Autism” award.

For the sixth year in a row, the Task Force has recognized those individuals in our community that have been a true inspiration to those families living with Autism.

In the past, award winners were announced at the spring Family Fun Walk for Autism.

Larry Eason and Alex Familo

Larry Eason and Alex Familo

This year, the group held a reception to honor all those who were nominated.

“We wanted to make the moment more special by celebrating with their families and friends,” said Tammy Thompson, Task Force vice president.

The event was held at the Cayuga Community College Event Center, with the support of Sue Witmer, director of Fulton Campus Operations. Sue Squires’ Essential Life Skills Education Class in Phoenix prepared the hor d’oeuvres and beverages for all to enjoy.

This year’s award recipient was Larry Eason, from the Hannibal School District’s Transportation Department.

Larry has been a bus driver for 27 years and a few years ago started driving a special passenger named Alex Familo.

Alex made a poster reflecting his “Autism Hero” and submitted a video explaining why Larry has made such an impact on him.

“Larry is my bus driver and his is my friend. He is always patient and takes great care of me,” said Alex in his presentation.

From left are: Colleen Grimshaw, Julie Chetney (previous recipient), Larry Eason, Shirley Baker, Jackie Knowles (previous recipient), Linda Stummer (previous recipient), Vicki Affinati (previous recipient), Jennifer and Robert Cahill (previous recipients) Kenda Seargant, Penny Kerfien, Sharon Anderson. Absent from the event picture are: Amy Marsden, Darlene Ochsner, Shannon Hellinger, Melissa Barlow, Tim Ross, Bridget Prichard and Kathy Hall.

From left are: Colleen Grimshaw, Julie Chetney (previous recipient), Larry Eason, Shirley Baker, Jackie Knowles (previous recipient), Linda Stummer (previous recipient), Vicki Affinati (previous recipient), Jennifer and Robert Cahill (previous recipients) Kenda Seargant, Penny Kerfien, Sharon Anderson. Absent from the event picture are: Amy Marsden, Darlene Ochsner, Shannon Hellinger, Melissa Barlow, Tim Ross, Bridget Prichard and Kathy Hall.

He concluded by saying, “Even when it’s cloudy out, we say it’s a beautiful day.”

Alex’s parents mentioned that every day is a beautiful day when they know their son, who has Autism, is with someone who cares for him and treats him with respect.

“Alex has been blessed with so many wonderful providers over the years,” said his mom, Theresa. “But, there’s just something special about the bond he and Larry have.”

It is the mission of the Oswego County Autism Task Force to provide information and engage in social activities that relate to enhancing the lives of those touched by Autism Spectrum Disorder in our community.

For more information, please call Tammy Thompson at (315) 349 – 3510.

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