Ray Bloomer Honored with NPS Accessibility Achievement Award

On October 22, 2009 Ray Bloomer, NCA Director of Education and Technical Assistance, was presented with the 2009 Accessibility Leadership Achievement Award. The award, which is given to an individual or team whose active leadership has resulted in improved accessibility within the National Park System (NPS) for persons with disabilities; has increased visibility for the issue of accessibility in the parks; or has provided policy development and implementation recognizes Ray’s outstanding dedication and leadership in ensuring that accessibility and universal design are major considerations for NPS facilities and programs. “I was very surprised and very honored,” comments Bloomer.

Ray Bloomer accepts the National Park Service Accessibility Leadership Achievement Award from Bill Shadow, Chief of Land Resources.

According to Sherril York, National Center on Accessibility Director “We at the National Center on Accessibility are very excited to see Ray recognized with the NPS Accessibility Leadership Achievement Award. Ray has been a tireless advocate for access for all people for many years and his influence has been widespread. We know firsthand the tremendous impact that he has had on advancing accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities, not only in the National Park Service, but also across parks and recreation nationally and internationally.”

During his tenure with the National Park Service, Ray has served as a Park Ranger/Interpreter at Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, Accessibility Coordinator at Boston National Historic Park, Regional Access Coordinator for the NPS North Atlantic Regional Office and Chief of Visitor Services and Interpretation at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. While working as the Regional Accessibility Specialist, Ray was actively involved from 1983 to 1992 with the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Restoration Project. He has served as a consultant on numerous projects of national significance including the Museum Task Force funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Department of Justice settlement agreement with the International Spy Museum, exhibit and program access at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and New York, and the Cherokee Heritage Center's Trail of Tears exhibit awarded for excellence in media by the National Association for Interpretation. Ray currently serves on the U.S. Department of Interior Disability Rights Committee and the NPS Service-wide Accessibility Coordinating Committee.

Not only has Ray given park visitors the opportunity for improved facilities and interpretive programs, he has also instilled in the park managers and staff the critical insight and increased awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities necessary in the planning, design, and construction of new facilities and in the planning and implementation of interpretive programs. His commitment to accessibility and the concept of “universal design” has resulted in significantly improved opportunities for persons with disabilities in not only the NPS, but also park and recreation programs nationwide.

“Ray personifies all the criteria of this prestigious award and the honor is well deserved” says York.