[music] I wanted to take a moment to join you in honoring my dear, dear friend Joyce Bender.

Joyce hasspent her career championing for the rightx of those whose voices are too often silencedor ignored.

We should all be grateful for her unbending commitment to service.

Joycehas not only worked to promote the rights of those with disabilities, she has championedthe achievement of our whole workforce, and the strengthening of our businesses by ensuringevery worker has the opportunity to reach their full potential, and every business canfield a diverse and strong team.

Through her advocacy and passion, she hashelped individuals with disabilities experience the independence and the sense of dignitythey deserve from putting their skills to the absolute best use.

Joyce, you have accomplishedso much for so many, and you remind us that empowerment, not charity, is the best giftany of us can receive So often times the very first thing you asksomebody is, "hey, what do you do for a living?”, and it’s so meaningful to me to be ableto have an answer to that question.

Uh…just because I’m blind doesn’t mean I can’twork, and thanks to Joyce Bender I have that opportunity.

The biggest thing Joyce Benderhas done for me, she’s got me on the big screen.

‘Hi mom!’” Your passion and commitment is contagious.

Thank you for all that you do.

You are an amazing woman, Joyce, and I am honored tobe your friend.

What I love about Joyce is that no matterwhat the struggle or disability is, she meets it head on, and she turns it into opportunities.

As a teacher and a civic leader, she’s tenacious and she’s brilliant.

Her passion for thecommunity, and her passion for workers with disabilities make her a living legend.

My favorite way to describe Joyce Bender isthat she is pure, positive energy.

The moment Joyce enters a room, the energy in the entireroom elevates.

Everybody knows the moment they meet Joyce that they’re going to bea better person because they’ve met Joyce, because they’ve worked with Joyce, and becauseJoyce is part of their team.

Joyce does more than just inspire people.

She Inspires peopleto action.

Joyce is an amazing Leader in the disabilitycommunity, um.

and she’s an inspiration…to me and to so many people.

Uh…she’s notafraid to tell you she loves you, and she’s just a marvelous, wonderful, inspiring woman,and I’m proud to know her.

Joyce is unrelenting.

She will ask the question.

She will demonstrate through her own style of leadership that she can not only walk thewalk, but she talks the talk, and it makes it infectious to people within the corporatecommunity.

I don’t think there’s a company here in Western Pennsylvania that doesn’tunderstand the value, or hasn’t hired someone with disabilities as a result of Joyce Bender’sleadership.

[music] There’s no one in America that’s donemore than you, Joyce, to expand the rights and opportunities for people with disabilitiesand giving them an opportunity to work, and their life of dignity and self-respect.

You’vealways been there for me, in every single critical moment of my life, but most of all,you’ve been there as an advisor to me, Um…and, together as a team, I know that we’re goingto make America a better place by offering employment opportunities for everyone If it wasn’t for Joyce, I wouldn’t havea great career, a job, a house and a great life I met Joyce Bender over 20 years ago, andsince that time she’s been my friend and my mentor.

She’s the kind of leader that’sselfless.

Everyday and everything that she does, she’s there, paying it forward, forcountless numbers of youth.

There is one leader, one person, one woman, whohas stood above everyone else in her leadership, in her advocacy to fight for improved livesfor people living with disabilities; and, Joyce Bender, that person is you.

I just wantto say…that you have my complete love and admiration and respect, and that of our entireboard, our staff, and our volunteers, we all wish you a wonderful evening of celebration,and want to tell you that we are so proud that you represent the Epilepsy Foundation’sLeadership and our disability community.

Thank you for all you continue to do.

God Blessyou Joyce.

Joyce, I love your tenacity and drive.

Infact, you’ve gotten me involved in so many great causes.

I sit on three boards today,and with you, at your encouragement: the AAPD, Variety the Children’s Charity for Kids,and the Epilepsy Foundation, and I know that I’m not the only one in the room that you’veencouraged to do the same.

You’re just somebody we can’t say no to.

Joyce, I am so proudof you and I congratulate you for all that you’ve done.

You deserve this award, andI’m just proud to be your friend.

Hello! This is Secretary of Labor Tom Perez,and it’s a privilege to pay tribute to my good friend Joyce Bender.

Joyce, as I toldyou on your radio show a few weeks ago, you are truly a force of nature.

Your work toadvance the right to work of people with disabilities is groundbreaking and inspiring.

You’vedone it with deep compassion, but also great tenacity and purpose.

You’ve helped so manypeople with disabilities enjoy the dignity of work, the sense of pride and purpose thatcomes with a paycheck, and you’ve helped so many employers, including the federal government,realize the great return on investment that comes from hiring people with disabilities.

You know instinctively that this isn’t just simply a question of Civil Rights; it’salso about bottom line common sense, enlightened self-interest.

Joyce, I know you’re drivenby the belief that we don’t have a person to spare in America.

We have to tap the potentialof everyone.

We can’t afford to have folks on the sidelines.

The economies of the nationare strongest when we field the full team.

The progress we’ve made in the past 25 yearsto empower people with disabilities is historic, and Joyce Bender, as an activist, and a businesswoman,has been one of the leaders of that movement, overcoming the odds and changing countlesslives for the better.

Joyce, I’m grateful for your partnership as the Department ofLabor continues its work on disability employment.

I look forward to spending time with you thissummer as we celebrate a quarter century of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and evenmore importantly, I look forward to working with you in the coming years to meet the challengesthat still remain.

Thank you Joyce! Thank you so much Joyce, we love you.

Thank you Joyce! [applause] [music].