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2009 CCD Award Recipient: Chris & Marie Laporte Stark

For many years, Chris and Marie have taken on the hard and often thankless tasks of advocating for a more accessible community for persons who are blind.

It is because of their efforts, values, principles, and dedication to building a more accessible and friendly world for all of us that we now have accessible banking machines in Canada and throughout the United States. There are in excess of 10,000 systems throughout America at this time; however, this would not have happened if Chris and Marie had not challenged the Canadian banks to build accessibility into their ATM network. The world’s first accessible ATM was launched in Ottawa at the Royal Bank, and it prompted the American market to adopt this standard.

It is also because of their efforts that we now enjoy accessible multiple format statements in the financial services industry and the telecommunications sector.

They have taken on the corporate giants and won the battles without our assistance. Because of their efforts, we receive accessible information in our communities about current events, such as emergency notices, grocery prices, accessible report cards and so much more.

This dedication, tenacity, and the values that drive both Chris and Marie are at the heart of what we believe we need to emulate. We are a stronger community because of their contributions. Together, they have shown that battles can be won and that equality is not only a worthwhile goal, but a possible and plausible one as well. We honor their efforts, the dedication they have shown, and the changes they have brought about through their persistence.