The Easter Seals’ National Board of Directors has recently announced the award winner for the 2011 Outstanding Advocate Award for Local Government, Milwaukee County’s Office of Persons with Disabilities Executive Director, Don Natzke. Each year the Easter Seals’ National Board of Directors awards an elected or appointed federal, state or municipal official the Outstanding Advocate Award. The award may be given to recognize an ongoing commitment to issues affecting people with disabilities or for one specifically noteworthy accomplishment.
Don Natzke has a long-standing commitment to the disability community and the Easter Seals of Southeastern Wisconsin. He is being recognized for his role in the process to privatize the programming of Wil-O-Way, a recreational facility for adults with disabilities. Don chose Easter Seals as the recreation provider creating a partnership with the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities which is responsible for the success that Wil-O-Way has become today. “Don is a visionary. He is passionate and always finds a way to get things done regardless of red tape or budget difficulties,” says Bob Glowacki, Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin CEO, “Don is very deserving of this prestigious national recognition. He is continuously advocating for the rights and opportunities for individuals with disabilities and finding ways to make them happen.”
The Easter Seals Color program was another innovative idea that Don had for people with disabilities to help them show their patriotism within the community. The Color Guard program is still running strong today and allows participants to proudly present the colors at various local sporting including the Milwaukee Admirals, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Wave and South Milwaukee home football games.
As Director of the Office of Persons with Disabilities for the last 20 years, Don serves on the Milwaukee County Transit Committee, Long-Term Care Committee and provides counsel to all of the County staff on making the workplace more accessible for county employees. He also leads October disability awareness month activities recognizing the potential of adults with disabilities
“We're all fortunate to have served with so many talented and caring souls. In the face of what there is to be done, I know how little I've contributed, while together, so many have accomplished so much. I'm indeed fortunate to have been blessed to be with such good company,” says Don Natzke. He will be in attendance at the Easter Seals Thought Leaders Luncheon on October 19th to receive local recognition and Easter Seals Annual Convention in Washington D.C. to receive his award on Nov. 5, 2011.
About Easter Seals Southeast WI
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 75 years, Easter Seals Southeast WI has been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Support children and adults with disabilities at www.eastersealswise.com.