Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Winner of the ninth annual Athena Award announced

Athens community member and president of Athens County People First, William “Billy” Peacock, was presented the Athena Award by Mayor Steve Patterson on Nov. 1 during the ninth annual Athena Award Ceremony. 

Created by the Athens City Commission on Disabilities, the Athena Award is given to a person or an organization to recognize the exceptional work they have done to improve the lives of people living with disabilities by making the greater Athens area a more inclusive place. According toan Athens City news release, it is the only award given to people by the city.

“Each of these people have made significant contributions to our community by dedicating themselves to improving the lives of people living with disabilities,” jw Smith, announcer and fifth recipient of the Athena Award, said.

Other nominees for the 2023 Athena Award included Scott Dennis, an advocate and supporter of people with disabilities; Ben Dikis, a caretaker of people with disabilities including the friends and children he has adopted; Meredith Erlewine, the Athens City-County Creating Healthy Communities Coordinator; and Tina Carnes Kelsey, a Passion Works artist and supporter of Passion Works artists with developmental differences.

Smith said Peacock has spent his life’s work dedicated to advocating for people with developmental disabilities. Most notably, he worked with the Ohio State Senate to remove the "r-word" from government department names and legislature.

"The list includes maintaining an accessible online presence of the Southern Ohio Council of Government for people with developmental disabilities during the pandemic, supporting disability equity … and serving as a founding member of the Southeastern Ohio Disability Coalition,” said Smith.

Peacock said that he was very surprised to receive the award and that winning it was a dream come true.

“Thank you for all your support for me and the hard work I have put forth,” Peacock said during his acceptance speech. “I trust that I will open a lot of doors for a lot of people with developmental disabilities because they need to have a chance to do things out in the community. We don't need to shut the doors in front of them.” 

Davey McNelly, chairperson for the Athens City Commission on Disabilities, is very happy to see the work that community members put into advocating for people with disabilities is being acknowledged. 

“It's a lot of hard work,” McNelly said. “It's a lot of saying the same thing over and over without a lot of change happening. So, I think the work that the Commission does to acknowledge people who are doing the work is just so important.”

Not only is McNelly appreciative of all the work that goes into making Athens a more inclusive place, but he also said he appreciates what Peacock has worked toward. 

“I think (Peacock has) just done so much work over the years to make things better and to really shine a light on what people with developmental disabilities really need,” said McNelly.

Peacock’s work will not stop at winning the Athena Award, though. 

“I feel like I've accomplished more and there's more work that needs to be done,” Peacock said. “I plan on maintaining my position as an advocate, and a leader of advocacy.” 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH