Rep.Charlie Meier Receives Plassman Award
Illinois Representative Charlie Meier received the Plassman award recently from the Murray Parents’ Association at an award ceremony attended by Representative Meier’s family along with residents, friends and supporters of Murray Center. Meier was presented with a picture of a tree stamped with the Murray residents’ fingerprints that says “Thank you Representative Meier from the Murray Center Residents 2015.” The three residents who presented the picture are (pictured above): Gary Allen, Lindsey Webb and Angie Munie (seated).
The prestigious Dr. W.P. Plassman award was started in 1977 by the Murray Parents’ Association to honor Dr. Plassman who was instrumental in helping to start the Murray Parents’ Association. Dr. Plassman became the superintendent of Murray Center in 1970 and he immediately saw a need for a parents’ organization, and arranged to have a Parents’ Day for two successive years with the hope that a parents’ group would materialize from these days. After the Second Parents’ Day in October 1971, the organizational meeting took place and the Murray Parents Association was born. The first meetings were held in Anita Becherer’s home with several parents’ attending. Without the cooperation of Dr. Plassman and the staff of Murray Developmental Center, the Parents’ Association could not have been possible. Therefore, it was seen, that the award should be named for Dr. W. P. Plassman, who believed strongly not only in residents’ rights, but in parents’ rights also. The award honors individuals who volunteer their time to make outstanding contributions towards helping to promote better understanding of the disabled, and who work towards bettering the lives of the disabled. Dr. Plassman served as the superintendent of Murray Center from 1971to 1982. Since 1977 fourteen people have been honored with the Plassman Award; Anita Becherer (1977), Ethel West (1979), Nancy Scott (1981), Phyllis Hatfield (1984), Wes and Lois Heintz (1984), Ed Elmore (1987), Howard Phillips (1987), John and Betty Stumpe (1991), Mary Phillips (1994), Audrey L. Kolar (1998), Senator Frank Watson (2001), Vickie Niederhofer (2005), and Rita Winkeler (2014).
“We want to nominate Representative Charlie Meier for the Dr. Plassman Award for his dedication, and devotion to the special residents of Murray Center. Since his election in 2013 Rep. Meier has been on a constant mission to keep Murray Center open as a home for our residents. He has fought on the House floor and throughout the capitol in Springfield for our loved ones’ right to live at Murray Center. He has spent countless hours working with other legislators, the parents/guardians, and community leaders to plan and implement ways to keep Murray Center open. Even when he was told “Murray is going to close” he refused to back down, and continued to fight. Rep. Meier has made countless trips to Springfield and Chicago, using his own money to meet with department leaders, and any one he thought could help the cause to keep Murray Center open. Since the election of Governor Rauner Representative Meier has continued to advocate for Murray Center, and is working with the Governor’s office to help make Murray Center a number one center that will be open for generations to come. Rep. Meier does not just advocate for the Murray Center residents. He now receives frequent phone calls and emails requesting help from parents whose disabled loved ones are in need of services, and he works to help them find the best possible services for these disabled individuals. Representative Meier introduced and had legislation passed that made handicapped accessible park projects a priority so the disabled and their families will be able to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. The Dr. W.P. Plassman award was started to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions towards helping to improve the lives of the disabled. We are humbled and honored to present this award to Representative Charlie Meier.”