Monday, Aug. 1, has been set as 2016 nominations deadline for the Morgan’s Wonderland Wall of Fame, which honors individuals from coast to coast who have distinguished themselves in doing great things for people with special needs.
“Each year, we shine the spotlight on five heroes who’ve gone above and beyond to befriend the special-needs community,” said Ron Morander, general manager of the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone. “These extraordinary men and women clearly exhibit qualities such as caring, determination, sacrifice and, above all, inclusion.”
The five honorees will be recognized at the Free to Soar Gala on Saturday evening, Sept.24, at Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio. Their names will be placed on the Wall of Fame located in a high-traffic area in the heart of the 25-acre, ultra-accessible park for thousands upon thousands of guests to see. Proceeds from the gala will benefit non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland, which admits anyone with a special need free of charge, and The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland, a school for students with special needs ages 12 to 24 next to the theme park.
This year’s Free to Soar Gala guest of honor will be Amy Purdy, 2014 Paralympics Games bronze medalist and Team Toyota Athlete. Sponsorship information and other details about the gala are available from Becky Thomas at (210) 493-2811.
A committee from Morgan’s Wonderland and The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, along with special advisors, will review nominations of not more than two typewritten pages submitted to www.MorgansWonderland.com/get-involved/free-to-soar-gala/wall-of-fame-nomination-form.
“Though we recognize that an individual might be a true inspiration or a hero to his or her family members, we’re looking for honorees that’ve had a dramatic impact on many lives,” Morander said. “For example, it might be a student who, regardless of a disability, perseveres at school and inspires other students; a military member injured in the line of duty who embraces life despite immense physical challenges and serves as a role model for others; a dedicated employee with special needs who has earned the admiration of a supervisor and peers for a job well done; a caregiver who has sacrificed to make a difference for those with special needs; or someone who works directly with the special-needs community to provide incredible assistance.”
Completely wheelchair-accessible Morgan’s Wonderland features more than 25 attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens. The latest information on days and hours of operation, admissions and special events is available at www.MorgansWonderland.com.
The inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland came from philanthropists Gordon and Maggie Hartman’s 22-year-old daughter, Morgan. Her soaring spirit despite personal challenges sparked within them a deep desire to create a place where those with and without special needs could come together in an atmosphere of fun and inclusion.
Morgan’s Wonderland and The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland are part of a larger, 106-acre family fun destination called Wonderland, Texas. Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world’s first ultra-accessible splash park under construction next to Morgan’s Wonderland, is scheduled to open in spring 2017. Another Wonderland, Texas neighbor is CRIT USA (Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletonUSA), a non-profit rehabilitation center for children who are born with or who have suffered neurological, muscular or skeletal disorders and injuries. Morgan’s Wonderland serves as a recreational and therapeutic outlet for CRIT USA patients and families.
Morgan’s Wonderland is located in Northeast San Antonio a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive. For more information, call either (210) 495-5888.