Accessibility awards doled out Tuesday

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Murray McLauchlin and Ralph Roels showcase awards they received Tuesday from the Chatham-Kent Accessibility Advisory Committee. The McLauchlin Wellness Clinic in Blenheim was named this year’s most accessible business, while Roels, head of the committee, earned an advocacy award.
Murray McLauchlin and Ralph Roels showcase awards they received Tuesday from the Chatham-Kent Accessibility Advisory Committee. The McLauchlin Wellness Clinic in Blenheim was named this year’s most accessible business, while Roels, head of the committee, earned an advocacy award.

The McLauchlin Chiropractic and Wellness Clinic in Blenheim received high praise for its accessibility efforts, earning the Dr. Veronica Vaughan Most Accessible Business Award Feb. 17.

The Chatham-Kent Accessibility Advisory Committee hands out the awards annually.

In 2013, the clinic, located on Talbot Street, went to great lengths to install a wheelchair ramp off the back of the business.

Michele Burk, office manager at the business said the clinic purchased land to the west and south of the property in order to have enough room to build the access ramp. The land contained a home and a laundromat, which were torn down.

The ramp goes with wide hallways and doorways inside the clinic.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” owner Murray McLauchlin said, adding people come from as far away as Chatham due to the accessibility at his clinic.

“We really appreciate this honour,” McLauchlin said of the award. “And we appreciate the support the community has given us.”

The clinic wasn’t the only recipient Feb. 17 of awards. Committee chair Ralph Roels was also honoured for his longtime commitment to improving accessibility in Chatham-Kent, receiving the Sheila Lindsey-Powers Accessibility Advocate Award.

Committee member Frank VanOirschot said Roels has been on the Accessibility Advisory Committee since 2001.

“He makes sure everybody has a way to get into a building,” he said.

Roels said it’s a simple extension of his life.

“I just have a passion to get out and about with my limitation and try to make it out so others can too,” he said in regards to his limited vision. “I want to help all people of all abilities to get around and live their lives.”

Roels said a great deal has happened since he first joined the committee.

“There has been a great evolution over the past 14 years,” he said, adding many places even train employees to recognize ability issues and how to assist folks with them.

But he knows there’s more to do.

“We’re going to keep scouting around to see if we can find any issues, and work to fix them.”

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