June 2, 2011 -- Evan Latainer, director of the Westchester County Office for the Disabled, received the 2011 Public Partnership Award Wednesday on behalf of ParaTransit, a county transportation service that is an integral part of the lives of thousands of people with disabilities.

This award is presented each year by Westchester Arc to a public official or entity that provides support for services and programs for families and people with developmental disabilities in Westchester County.

"Evan and the entire ParaTransit staff run a professional operation that is key in making Westchester accessible to so many in our community," said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "Receiving special recognition from such a well respected agency as Westchester Arc reinforces the importance of our mission and further demonstrates how the Office for the Disabled is increasing opportunities for residents with disabilities."

Founded in 1949, Westchester Arc is the county's oldest and largest agency serving children and adults who have developmental disabilities and their families. Westchester Arc noted that ParaTransit is a critical support in providing lives of inclusion, employment, social contact and health for those who would otherwise be isolated by the lack of transportation.

In a letter announcing the award, President Sheryl Frishman and Executive Director Richard Swierat said they were "honored to recognize the services of Paratransit and the staff who are dedicated to making the community open for our citizens with disabilities."

Currently, ParaTransit transportation requires reservations up to seven days in advance. However, the goal is for the ParaTransit service to more closely "mirror" the regular Bee-Line bus service.

The 2011 Public Partnership Award was presented to Latainer at the Annual Westchester Arc membership meeting at the Gleeson Israel Gateway Center in Hawthorne.