Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities Announces 2009 Barbara Jordan Media Award Winners

Wednesday, March 03, 2010  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

The Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities has announced the winners of the 2009 Barbara Jordan Media Awards. Winners in eight categories were chosen by a statewide panel of judges that included journalists, professionals in the field of disabilities and people with disabilities.

Award recipients will be honored at the Barbara Jordan Media Awards Ceremony reception and dinner on Saturday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m., at the University of North Texas' (UNT) Gateway Building. The event will be hosted by the UNT Mayborn School of Journalism, and is open to the public. Cragg Hines, former Washington bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle, will serve as the keynote speaker.

The 2009 Barbara Jordan Media Award winners are:

Individual Special Contribution:
Horse Boy (Film)
Rupert Isaacson and Michel Orion Scott
Elgin, TX

The Horse Boy does more than chronicle Rowan and his parents' journey across the vast, wild landscape of Mongolia. It delves into the strange world of autism itself, the relationship between humans and animals and between different cultures and ways of being, and the nature of healing. But above all, The Horse Boy tells the story of a couple that goes to the end of the earth to find a way into their son's life.
To view a movie preview:

Mineola Girl Faces Life with a Smile
Abby Eden, KETK-TV

Running is a passion some may not have expected from Ryanne Carr. This six and a half year-old was born in Kazakhstan with no legs and one arm, but almost immediately, she had an abundance of love. Ryanne's family got involved with the Challenged Athletes Foundation, where they found out she's quite the runner. Katrina [her mother] says, "She's won eleven gold medals. She's been running all over the country."
To view the video:

Organization Special Contribution:
Movin' Mavs
UT Arlington Media Relations
UT Arlington University Communications
The Shorthorn: UT Arlington Student Publications

[Note: This submission is a collection of various videos and print articles on the wheelchair basketball team] The Movin' Mavs are preparing for the game against their rivals, The Dallas Mavericks, another wheel chair basketball team in the DFW Metroplex. UTA News got a closer look at how they are training and what the coach is using as a motivational tool to prepare them mentally for the game.

To view one of the videos:

Print Feature:
Modern Miracle
Ann Work, Wichita Falls Times Record News
Wichita Falls TX

A mom knows a miracle when she sees one, especially when it concerns her son. Two months ago, Vera Word penetrated the autistic world of her 15-year-old son, Jonathon, using - of all things - a cell phone. The device's text messaging capabilities have opened up a new method of communication with her son that is working better than anything she's tried before.

To read the article:

Senior Triumphs Over Cancer
Ayana Cameron, Cy-Fair High School Reporter
Houston TX

Senior Brent Adams was only 17 months old when he was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis. With little known about the disease, and even less knowledge of its cure, it was clear that from the day he was born, Brent would be fighting for his life. "The doctors already knew it would be hard for me." What the doctors couldn't predict, however, was that Brent Adams would vigorously overcome these obstacles and exceed everyone's expectations.

This article is not available online. PDF available upon request.

TV Documentary:
Reaching Higher: Versie Returns to Work
David Ondich, City of Fort Worth
John Vacca, CCTV
Fort Worth

Versie Taylor, an employee of the City of Fort Worth, had an aneurysm burst that left her without the ability to walk, talk, read or write. This is a story about her journey back to work and how the City of Fort Worth helped her through the Return to Work Program.

To view the video:

TV Feature:
The Rene Ayala Story
Alex Trevino, KRGV-TV
Rio Grande Valley (Alex now lives in D.C.)

Rene Ayala is an incredible man. He just keeps going. He has no arms, no legs, and no help - but he has children. Those children are his inspiration for life, his inspiration for overcoming all the negatives. In this story, we see how difficult it is for him to get inside his house, which has considerable storm damage. But, once in, he manages it all.

This video is not available online.

TV Feature, Extended:
Brian's Song
Matt Barrie/Noah Bullard, KXAS-TV
Fort Worth TX

Brian Spann is a freshman clarinet player who didn't let his diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy stand in the way of his dream of being in the marching band.

To view this video:

For more information about the Barbara Jordan Media Awards Ceremony, please contact Jo Virgil, Community Outreach and Information Specialist for the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities at or 512-463-5740. For ticket purchases and sponsorship information, please contact Jo Ann Ballantine at the University of North Texas at or 940-565-4778.

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