On July 21, 2011, the Vermont Center for Independent Living honored Tom Younkman as the VCIL Advocacy Award recipient. The VCIL Advocacy Award is given to a person or organization for pushing forward the independent living philosophy through advocacy work.
Sarah Launderville, executive director of the Vermont Center for Independent Living, presented the award during the annual Americans with Disabilities Act celebration on the Statehouse lawn.
Launderville said, "He has changed the way VCIL interacts with farmers who have disabilities. He outreaches to farmers, connecting farmers to our movement. He organizes farmers and connects farmers to the equipment and services available to them to help them continue to farm."
She added, "He's not your typical organizer. At first he was sort of uncomfortable about it, but he kept doing it, he kept reaching out to farmers. And he's gotten us to a point where we're able to really work and interchange with farmers on a regular basis."
Susan Elliot from Congressman Peter Welch's office helped present the award, which was an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol June 9 on Younkman's behalf.
Submitted by Janis Moore