In commemoration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) and Dominion Resources, Inc. co-hosted the first annual Disability Employment Champions Awards Breakfast on October 24, 2006 at Virginia Crossings Resort in Glen Allen, Virginia. The statewide event was the culmination of a series of local events held by DRS throughout the Commonwealth to honor individuals and organizations in public, private, and non-profit sectors that have helped further DRS's mission to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and full inclusion into society. As the first winner of the new award, Governor Timothy M. Kaine was among nine awardees honored at the breakfast for 'championing' the employment of people with disabilities.
DRS Commissioner James A. Rothrock, said of the awards breakfast, 'We have inaugurated an annual event which not only recognizes policies and practices that contribute to the employment of people with disabilities, but an event which we hope will serve as a call to action to legislators, businesses, community organizations, state agencies, people with disabilities and their families.'
State agency heads, business leaders, and leaders of nonprofit and community organizations gathered at the breakfast, which, in addition to honoring Governor Kaine, recognized five businesses from around the state, a state agency, an individual with disabilities who is a DRS consumer, and the Greater Richmond ARC. Marshall Butler, president of the Greater Richmond was 'very pleased' to accept the award on behalf of ARC.