His nomination written by Lynn Roebuck, SLP, United Ability
I have had the fortune of being employed by United Ability for over 20 years as a speech-language pathologist. During that time, I was honored to work with and for one of the most honorable men ever known. He was not a speech pathologist, but he had a passion for empowering individuals with disabilities with the gift of communication. Dr. Gary Edwards was the Chief Executive Officer of United Ability (formerly United Cerebral Palsy) for 38 years until the day of his passing in June of 2020.
His Far-Reaching Impact
There would be no way to measure the enormous impact that Dr. Edwards has had on this community. He has always been an advocate for providing Augmentative/Alternative Communication access to individuals with disabilities since the early 1980s and made it possible for our region to host the Southeast Augmentative Communication Conference for 20 years.
He devoted his entire professional life to serving adults and children with disabilities and ensuring proper medical and therapeutic support. “Dr. E” was entirely committed to United Ability’s mission of “connecting people with disabilities to their communities and empowering individuals to live full and meaningful lives.” He knew how critical communication was to this mission statement. He would take time to get to know all of the SLPs that worked at United Ability and make sure that we were as passionate about empowering these individuals with communication as he was.
His Legacy Lives On
Dr. Edwards continued to champion communication in the early years with the coordination of Alabama’s Early Intervention Conference. He was passionate regarding the newest technology that made communication faster and with better access. He would bring in both individuals with the latest technology to trial with participants at United Ability. He was committed to the training of speech-language pathologists and encouraged all SLP’s at United Ability to take and train students as often as possible. Dr. Edwards truly understood the mission, need, and value of the profession of speech-language pathology.
I would like to nominate Dr. Gary Edwards for the The Honors of the Association Award. As he has a lifetime of contribution to the profession of speech-language pathology in the state of Alabama.