Congressman Moran honored at Cottonwood for supporting people with disabilities in work force

Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran was honored in Lawrence Friday for his support of programs for people with disabilities in the work force.

During a presentation at Cottonwood Industries, 2801 W. 31st St., Moran received the AbilityOne Champion Award from the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped, which Cottonwood is associated with. Representatives from the south-central region of NISH, headquartered in Arlington, Texas, attended the event.

Moran has been a key supporter of Cottonwood in Congress, Cottonwood’s chief executive, Sharon Spratt, said. He has toured the facility, spoken about it on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and helped Cottonwood get work contracts.

“A reason that I wanted to be here and participate in an awards ceremony is that I hope that it highlights the good things that are happening here at Cottonwood,” said Moran, whose 1st Congressional District includes all of western and much of central Kansas.

Cottonwood is a nonprofit organization established in 1972 to provide services for people with developmental disabilities. One of Cottonwood’s most important federal work contracts allows about 40 people with disabilities to make military cargo straps.

Moran said he thinks all people have the potential to improve their lives and make good things happen for themselves. He noted that legislation created 70 years ago allowed the federal government to purchase products from organizations that employ people with disabilities. Cottonwood is “a great example” of what resulted from that legislation, Moran said.

Despite the downturn in the nation’s economy, Moran said after the ceremony that he thinks Cottonwood has broad support in Congress.

“I think we’re secure, but I would remind community volunteers and activists that they don’t let something bad happen because it can happen in Congress,” he said. “It’s a reminder to me that we need to be paying a lot of attention to make sure this program continues.”