About Us

The Virginia Rehabilitation Association (VRA) is a chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for all persons with disabilities. NRA is the oldest, largest, and strongest advocacy organization for all persons with disabilities in the USA.

Chartered in 1959, VRA continues to promote issues that enable persons with disabilities to participate in the mainstream of society, to provide opportunities for professional development for persons in the field of rehabilitation and independent living.


Mission

It is the mission of VRA to promote issues that enable persons with disabilities to participate in the mainstream of society, to provide opportunities for professional development for persons in the field of rehabilitation and independent living. VRA is involved in the following activities: Legislative Advocacy, Removal of Architectural Barriers, Professional Development, The VRA Foundation, Inc.

Our Team

Our History

The VRA, a chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA), was organized on January 30, 1959. The NRA is a private, non-profit association whose members are professional persons in various areas of rehabilitation work, as well as consumers, volunteers, educators, students, and interested citizens.

By 1964, the total membership of VRA was slightly more than 600 persons. Approximately 60% were professional members representing physicians, rehabilitation counselors, vocational evaluators, therapists, social workers, nurses, administrators, and placement specialists. The remaining members included persons interested in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. The association was incorporated August 12, 1968.


VRA Awards

Mr. Hammond was credited with creating “IBM Data Processing for the Handicapped” Program. This award was established to honor business and industry leaders whose contributions to the field of rehabilitation in Virginia are outstanding and result in the employment of persons with disabilities. Eligible for this award may be organizations or industrial leaders that have made a contribution to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities in activities over and beyond the purpose for which the organization was established. Preference is given to individuals or organizations that have effectively and actively advocated for individuals with disabilities; introduced innovative programs and approaches to rehabilitation; and impact rehabilitation beyond the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This award was created in 1986 to honor business and industry leaders whose contribution to the field of rehabilitation in Virginia are outstanding and resulted in the employment of persons with disabilities. The award is named in honor of Norman Hammond, who began the IBM Data Processing For the Handicapped Program.

Past Recipients

  • 2020 - McAlister's Deli, Blacksburg, VA

  • 2019 - Legget Town & Country

  • 2018 - CVS

  • 2017 - Jennifer Hunter Johnson, HR Director of IHG Army Hotels

  • 2017 - Mr. Brett Vassey, President and CEO of Virginia Manufacturers

  • 2016 - Howard Green, National Organization on Disability

  • 2012 - Lisa Malone and Rebecca Pate-Johnson, Didlake Employment Services, Itouch Pilot Project Team

  • 2009 - Sue Cline, Active Grey Matter/Cyclonic Consulting 

  • 2008 - Boddie Noell

  • 2007 - Omni of Richmond and Loudoun County Workforce Investment Center

  • 2006 - Rappahannock General Hospital

  • 2005 - Garth Larcen, Positive Vibe Cafe, Richmond

  • 2004 - Imperial Plaza and Crown Cork and Seal (USA)

  • 2003 - Ukrop's Supermarkets, Inc.

  • 2002 - Millie Hewett

  • 2002 - Manpower

  • 2001 - Prudential Cleanroom Services

  • 2000 - Booz-Allen

  • 1999 - David French - ARAMARK, Inc.

  • 1998 - Faye Luellen - K Mart

  • 1995 - George Homan, Assistant Director, Friendship Industries, Harrisonburg

  • 1992 - Bobby L. Townsend, Senior Vice President and Stephen A. Schutze, Director of Corporate Resources, Nations Bank

  • 1991 - Ukrop's Super Market, Richmond

  • 1991 - Sprint Services, Richmond

  • 1990 - Robert Biggs, Assistant District Manager, Kroger Company

  • 1989 - Noel C. Taylor, Roanoke Mayor

  • 1987 - William Reeves, Sears & Roebuck

  • 1986 - Norman C. Hammond, IBM Data Procession

Established in 1988 to recognize efforts made by individuals, businesses or organizations for the removing of architectural, attitudinal and environmental barriers. A plaque honoring Mr. Stillfried’s work for more accessible facilities was prepared and presented to Mr. Stillfried’s family when this award was established. Awarded to an individual who has exercised notable leadership in either removing environmental, attitudinal or legal barriers and/or has contributed to the attainment of independence for persons with disabilities by significantly supporting the growth of rehabilitation services throughout Virginia. 

The purpose of this award is threefold:

  1. To develop a cooperative resource link between Virginia’s Mayors’ Committees/Commissions and the Virginia Rehabilitation Association;

  2. To increase awareness and share information on innovative projects; and

  3. To generate more activities and participation in barrier removal.

Past Recipients

  • 2018 - Stephen Johnson

  • 2016 - Carrie Clawson, DARS

  • 2015 - Keith Johnson, Manager, HRT Paratransit

  • 2009 - Appalachian Independence Center, Abingdon, Virginia

  • 2008 - Linda Broady-Myers

Dr. Hoover of Tallahassee, Florida, former Roanoke orthopedic surgeon and former medical director of Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, initiated this award at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center. In 1969 WWRC requested that the Virginia Rehabilitation Association accept the responsibility for its administration. It honors a physician practicing in Virginia who has given outstanding medical rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities and whose contributions are substantial. This nominee may have a local, statewide, or regional impact on services to clients through rehabilitation, in the field of medicine or in any field, rehabilitative in nature. Length of service in Virginia and voluntary efforts is a consideration.

Past Recipients

  • 2018 - Dr. Geoffrey Smith

  • 2017 - C. Frederick Capps, Former Director of the Psychology Department at WWRC

  • 2016 - Dr. Mammen Mathew, WWRC

  • 2009 - Dr. Harvey E. Jacobs, Private Practice, Richmond, VA

  • 2005 - David Hebda, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist/Neuropsychologist, Manassas, VA

  • 2004 - Pamela S. Duff, M.D., Chief Medical Consultant, Dept of Rehabilitative Services & Disability Determination Division

  • 2003 - John D. Ward, M.D.

  • 1998 - Louis Massad, M.D.

  • 1995 - Dr. Michael E. States, Dentist, Charlottesville, VA

  • 1990 - Doris Woodward, M.D., Psychiatric Consultant 

  • 1987 - Dr. Mammen M. Mathew, Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center

  • 1984 - Henry H. Stonnington, M.D.

  • 1982 - Reno Porter, M.D.

  • 1980 - Dr. G. Slaughter Fitz-Hugh

  • 1979 - Dr. Susan Millette

  • 1978 - Dr. William Orr

  • 1977 - Sam. D. Graham, M.D.

  • 1976 - Dr. Warren G. Stamp

  • 1975 - Dr. David K. Webster

  • 1974 - Dr. Joseph T. Byrne

  • 1973 - Dr. Leroy Smith

  • 1972 - Dr. Alexander McCausland

  • 1971 - Dr. Rachel Weems Gann

  • 1970 - Dr. Treacy O'Hanlon

In 1971, Dr. Dawson, Director of geriatric and rehabilitation services for the Virginia Department of Mental Hygiene and Hospitals, initiated this award with a $1,000 grant and presented the first award. It is presented for outstanding services to people with disabilities by a practitioner, who is not in an administrative or supervisory position. Awarded to a professional person having direct contact with persons with disabilities in the rehabilitation process, and whose efforts have had a significant impact on their lives. Individuals may have worked in psychology, vocational evaluation, or medical specialties.

Past Recipients

  • 2018 - Lisa Handke

  • 2017 - Lisa Topolsoky, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2016 - Jill Clark, Fairfax County Government

  • 2011 - Alissa Molinelli and Whitney Ham, Rehabilitation Professionals, VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center

  • 2009 - Helen Kimble, Charlottesville Department of Social Services

  • 2007 - Ellen Braswell, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2006 - Bonnie Hawley, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2005 - Robin Metcalf, The Choice Group

  • 2004 - Eunice Griffin, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2003 - John (Benjy) Burnett

  • 2001 - Steven Sommer, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 1992 - Judy Dorman, Department of Visually Handicapped

  • 1991 - Marika Byrd, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 1990 - Lynne Seward, Adult Development Center, Inc

  • 1989 - Susan Dawkins Ireland, Northwestern Workshop

  • 1987 - Dr. Pat. Poplin, Department of Education

  • 1983 - Janet Downs

  • 1982 - Thomas L. Jolly, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 1980 - R. Edward (Ned) Strange, Department for Rehabilitative Services

  • 1979 - Eammon P. McEvilly, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 1978 - Dr. Mitchell Rosenth

  • 1977 - Frank B. Hart Jr.

  • 1976 - S. James Cutler, MCV Audiology

  • 1975 - Thomas G. Powell, Sr.

  • 1974 - John J. Hawse, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 1973 - Ruby Watkin 

  • 1972 - Marshall L. Sanders, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 1971 - Harry L. Rankin, Jr., Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center

In 1986 a classroom at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Anderson, the first Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. This award is given to a current member of the Virginia Rehabilitation Association who has demonstrated excellence in services to persons with disabilities. The first R.N. Anderson Award was presented in 1961.

Past Recipients

  • 2020 - William A. Sutton, Jr., Past VRA President

  • 2018 - Mark Fletcher

  • 2018 - Eleanor Williams

  • 2017 - Richard Sizemore, Director of Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center

  • 2016 - Kathy Hayfield, DARS

  • 2015 - Kim Shepard, Past President VRA, District Manager, DARS

  • 2014 - Robert Froehlich

    • VRA Immediate Past President, Committee Chair, George Washington University, Center for 

    • Rehabilitation Counseling, Research and Education, VR-ROI Project Manager/Adjunct Professor

  • 2012 - Sherman Gifford, The Choice Group

  • 2011 - Jennifer McDonough

    • Associate Director of Training, VCU, Rehabilitation Research & Training Center

  • 2010 - Shirley Lyons, Program Manager

    • Hermitage Enterprises

  • 2009 - Dale (DeeDee) Batten

    • Department of Rehabilitative Services, Regional Director

  • 2008 - Margaret Gilllispie

    • Department of Rehabilitative Services, Regional Director

  • 2007 - Robin Metcalf

    • The Choice Group

  • 2006 - James A. Rothrock, Commissioner

    • Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2005 - Sharon L. Harrup, Executive Director

    • Steps, Inc., Farmville

  • 2004 - John A. Phelps, Regional Director

    • Department of Rehabilitative Services, Richmond

  • 2003 - J. Howard Green

  • 2002 - Maureen McGuire-Kuletz

  • 2001 - Susan Green 

  • 1999 - Joseph M. Ashley, Rh.D.

  • 1998 - Sandra K. Wagener

  • 1997 - Douglas James 

  • 1996 - Alonzo J. Tyler, Sr. 

  • 1995 - Joseph F. Wallace, Ph.D. 

  • 1994 - Kenneth H. Knorr, Jr. 

  • 1993 - Don T. Johnston  

  • 1992 - Evan T. Jones  

  • 1991 - Donald L. Cox  

  • 1990 - James A. Rothrock 

  • 1989 - Marianne J. Cashett 

  • 1988 - John C. Hawes

  • 1987 - Thomas C. Michael

  • 1986 - Charles H. Merritt 

  • 1985 - Frances B. Miller 

  • 1984 - Carter D. Hamlett 

  • 1983 - William M. Burnside 

  • 1982 - John D. Hutchinson, III 

  • 1981 - W.H. "Bill" Brownfield

  • 1980 - Altamont Dickerson, Jr. 

  • 1979 - John B. Wade 

  • 1978 - Earl Lott

  • 1977 - J. Ellies Moran 

  • 1976 - Joseph Wiggins 

  • 1975 - David Ziskind 

  • 1974 - Curtis Iddings, Jr. 

  • 1973 - Harry A. Wellons 

  • 1972 - Keith C. Wright 

  • 1971 - W.T. Coppage 

  • 1970 - A. Ray Dawson, M.D. 

  • 1969 - Reginald W. McLemore 

  • 1968 - Frank O. Birdsall 

  • 1967 - W.W. Wendt 

  • 1966 - Paul A. Breeding 

  • 1965 - Edwin S. Snead, Jr.  

  • 1964 - Floyd H. Armstrong

  • 1963 - Roy M. Hoover, M.D.

  • 1962 - J. Paul Glick

  • 1961 - R.N. Anderson

Awarded to a person with a disability who has demonstrated imagination, perseverance, resolve, and an indomitable spirit in working to overcome barriers in their lives resulting in a better quality of life for themselves and others. When making nominations for this award, volunteer work, part time and full time employment is a consideration but not a requirement.

Past Recipients

  • 2019 - Cyril Tay

  • 2018 - Dr. Regina Root

  • 2018 - DeWanna Christian

  • 2017 - Liam Cornwall, VCU Graduate

  • 2016 - Matthew Barkley, Fairfax County Government

  • 2016  - Paul Hoelschen, DARS

  • 2015 - Natasha H. Sherman

  • 2014 - Eli Dimsey, Walgreens

  • 2013 - Sam Leckrone, Staunton, VA, Virginia Department of Transportation

  • 2013  - Greg Gorman, Richmond, VA, Willow Oaks Country Club

  • 2011 - Dominique (Nikki) Meyers-Griffin, CNA, Charlottesville

  • 2011 - Kalyn Hutson, Surgical Care Technician, Richmond

  • 2009 - Jennifer Woodward, Department of Rehabilitative Services, Policy & Planning Unit

  • 2008 - Tazewell Winston & Erika Umbarger

  • 2007 - Janice Austin, Department of Rehabilitative Services 

  • 2006 - Tim Downing, PBX Operator

  • 2005 - C.L. & Denise Brown, Eastern Shore, VA

This award was created in 1985 to honor Corbett Reedy who was a Virginia Rehabilitation Association service provider, as well as an official of the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Upon his retirement to his native Virginia, he was appointed to serve on the policymaking Board of the Department of Rehabilitative Services. Awarded to a resident of Virginia currently involved in the rehabilitation field, but not limited to rehabilitation professionals. This person must have creatively pursued excellence in contributions to the rehabilitation program, projects, issues, publications or a significant rehabilitation cause. Excellence in the field of service to persons with disabilities is recognized through this award.

Past Recipients

  • 2020 - Sheneka Hairston

  • 2019 - Karen Michalski Karney

  • 2018 - Win Stevens

  • 2017 - Marty Baldwin, Workforce Center Manager

  • 2016 - Greg Morrell, Celebrating his life and legacy

  • 2014 - Kristi Lockhart, Transition Services Coordinator, VA Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

  • 2013 - David H. Dean, Ph.D., Robins School of Business, University of Richmond

  • 2012 - David Leon, Ticket to Work Coordinator, VA Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

  • 2012 - Patricia "Patti" Goodall, Brain Injury Coordinator, VA Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

  • 2011 - Jack Quigley, Director, Virginia Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, Department of Medical Assistance Services

  • 2009 - Beth Tetrault, Henrico County Mental Health Mental Retardation

  • 2008 - Carolyn Craddock Turner, Department of Rehabilititative Services

  • 2007 - Margaret Gillispie, Department of Rehabilititative Services

  • 2006 - Joseph M. Ashley, Ph.D., Director, Grants and Special Programs,Department of Rehabilititative Services

  • 2005 - Richard S. Luck, Ed.D., Director, Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, Fishersville

  • 2004 - Raymond "Ray" Graesser, formerly Department of Rehabilititative Services

  • 2003 - Eleana M. Boyer, Director of Supported Employment Services, Didlake, Inc.,

  • 1999 - Karen Smith, Executive Director, Arc/Greater Prince William/Insight, Inc.

  • 1995 - Annette S. Pope, DRS Counselor

  • 1992 - Susan L. Urofsky, DRS Commissioner

  • 1991 - Honorable Don S. Beyer, Jr., Lt. Governor

  • 1990 - Sandra K. Howie, Executive Director, CVILC

  • 1987 - John D. Collins, III, President, Van Go Corp.

  • 1985 - Corbett Reedy (First recipient)

This award honors a Virginian that has creatively pursed excellence in contributions to rehabilitation programs, projects, issues, publications or a significant rehabilitation cause.

Past Recipients

  • 2020 - Rhonda Beavers-Chandler

  • 2019 - Dale Batten

  • 2018 - Ericka Neville

  • 2017 - Susan M. Collins, VRA Board Member, Fairfax County Public Schools

  • 2016 - Dawn Scott, VRA NewsNotes Editor, The Choice Group

  • 2015 - Adair Jensen-Smith, Manager, The Choice Group

  • 2014 - Margie Millner, VRA Board Member, Committee Chair, Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Rehabilitation Counselor

  • 2013 - Susan Gaillard, VRA Education Chair, Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

  • 2012 - Kristina Blough, VRA NewsNotes Editor

  • 2011 - Elizabeth (Liz) Smith, Policy and Planning Director, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2010 - Eleanor Williams, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2010 - Andrew Stowe, Department of Rehabilitative Services

  • 2009 - Amy Miller, Department of Rehabilitative Services, Immediate Past President VRA

  • 2008 - Maggie Butler, Department of Rehabilitative Services, Rehabilitation Counselor

  • 2007 - Steve Sommer 

  • 2007 - Susan Green, Department of Rehabilitative Services 

  • 2006 - Ellen Braswell, VRA Secretary, Rehabilitation Counselor, Department of Rehabilitative Services 

  • 2005 - Sherman Gifford, The Choice Group, Richmond

  • 2004 - Mark Fletcher

  • 2003 - Mary Kaye Johnston

  • 2002 - Teri Bertsch

  • 2001 - Shirley Lyons

  • 2000 - Naomi Aitken                         

  • 1999 - Naomi Aitken

  • 1998 - Charles F. Wingold

  • 1996 - Bernice Chattin

  • 1995 - Mary Kaye Johnston

  • 1994 - Mary Kaye Johnston

  • 1993 - Don T. Johnston (first recipient)

Governing Documents