Parkinson honored for reporting | ParkRecord.com

Parkinson honored for reporting

Passionate advocate for the disabled thanks reporter

On Tuesday, Park Record reporter Patrick Parkinson was singled out to receive an award from the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council. He was recognized as the group’s Media Representative of the Year for his coverage of a local man’s efforts to lobby the Legislature for more affordable housing for the disabled.

In February, Parkinson wrote about James O’Neill, a Summit County resident who volunteers at the National Ability Center. According to Parkinson, O’Neill never let his own cognitive disability prevent him from volunteering or from speaking out on behalf of others in similar circumstances.

At the time the article was being written, the Utah Legislature was debating severe budget cuts to several programs that served the disabled. O’Neill went to the state capitol to tell lawmakers how their actions would affect citizens like himself.

O’Neill presented the award to Parkinson at the Red Lion Hotel in Salt Lake City, saying he was grateful for Parkinson’s willingness to cover the issue.

Parkinson, who was on the Hill to cover another story, explained that he recognized O’Neill from around Park City but was surprised to see him in a suit and tie at the Legislature. As the two began to talk, Parkinson realized that O’Neill was passionate about helping citizens with disabilities in the state and that it was a compelling story.

According to Park Record editor Nan Chalat-Noaker, Parkinson’s own passion for reporting and his ability to connect with people from all walks of life adds an indispensable dimension to Park City’s newspaper. "We are very proud that he was recognized for his work, especially because it was for a story that highlights how an ordinary citizen can make a difference in his community," she said.