WEIRTON - Millie Gerbo has been accepted as a member of the Class of 2013 of the Weirton Hall of Fame in the category of education.
Gerbo's interest advocating for those with exceptionalities came from having a child of her own with disabilities. She found there was very little available for individuals with disabilities in the way of medical and mental health services, adaptive technology, education, community awareness, social activities, family training and even accessibility to the community.
In 1990, Gerbo took a job as Hancock County Schools Coordinator for the Parent Educator Resource Center. There, she began to educate herself and other parents in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, Individual Education Plan, Individual Disability Education Act, Title XIX Waiver, Family Support Funding, Guardianship, State and Federal laws, Early Intervention, Negotiation and Strategy Techniques and more.
Gerbo accepted a position with West Virginia Parent Training and Information. This expanded her area to Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties. Through these positions, she reached out to families in need by going far beyond the job description, often opening up her own home and property for picnics, trainings and even social gatherings for those individuals with disabilities and continues to do so even though she is retired.
Gerbo found the need for socialization for the families of children with disabilities to be nearly non-existent and took action. She found funding sources, wrote grants, got donations from local merchants to host concerts, pool parties and many other fundraising events. Throughout the years, she has helped training thousands and given hope to many more. She started several support groups throughout the Ohio Valley and once parents were trained, she then became a resource of support.
Whenever, wherever Gerbo saw a need, she would do whatever she could often saying, "It's not about the money it is about the need," and living it when she continued to work for free once grant funds were no longer available for her salary.
The fifth-annual Weirton Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to take place at 2 p.m. on Aug. 4 at the Knights of Columbus.
Tickets are available until July 31 for $25 each at the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, Marsh's Pipe and Supply, R.E. Saxon Jeweler and the Weirton Municipal Building. Approximately 250 tickets are being sold and will not be available at the door. The event is open to the public.