Eleven local businesses were singled out for special recognition at the annual Employer Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the SCV Mayor's Committee for Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.
Close to 50 guests attended to salute local businesses for their commitment to the helping those with disabilities.
Employers especially honored for hiring someone with a disability this year included Albertson's-Canyon Country, CVS-Bouquet Canyon, CVS-Seco Canyon, Extended Stay, Macaroni Grill, Pacific Lock, Performance Cyclery, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Von's-Store 2111, Von's - Store 1669, and Wal Mart - Copper Hill.
Many other businesses were mentioned for both past training opportunities and hiring practices.
Access to the world-of-work has included a number of opportunities for students in the William. S. Hart Union High School District through the district's Career Visions Program.
Keynote speaker for the luncheon was stage, screen and television actor and writer Jack Patterson. He shared his own story of an almost life-ending neck injury as a young student at Georgetown University that left him needing to use a cane for walking since he was a sophomore there, nearly 40 years ago.
Patterson spoke of his journey, which eventually led him to Hollywood, where he has appeared in numerous productions.
His message was that we each have our own "story", and for those with disabilities, that may include frustrations with attempts to gain employment.
His talk, "I wasn't disabled until I came to Hollywood" was humorous, yet direct in expressing his thoughts that change, especially in attitude, does not come easily, but is possible.
In addition to the recognition provided by the Mayor's Committee, recognition certificates were presented to businesses on behalf of Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, by Ed Masterson, on behalf of Senator George Runner, by Jackie Bick, and Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar. Certificates were also sent from Supervisor Michael Antonovich's office.