Weekend Will Feature 9-11 Survivor Lauren Manning as Keynote Speaker

PHOTO: Lauren ManningMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Lauren Manning will serve as the keynote speaker, recounting her remarkable and inspirational story of surviving the September 11 terrorist attacks, when SUNY Orange concurrently hosts the New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) annual conference and the second annual Assistive Technology Expo the weekend of Oct. 22-23 on the College’s Middletown campus.

Manning (right), who after being burned over more than 80 percent of her body defied long odds to survive the attacks on the World Trade Centers, will address the NYSOTA membership as well as attendees at the AT Expo beginning at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 in the Physical Education Building. An honor guard ceremony featuring personnel from the New York Fire Department and New York Police Department, as well as Sept. 11 first responders, will precede Manning’s presentation. Following her appearance, she will be signing copies of her book “Unmeasured Strength.”

PHOTO: book cover of Unmeasured StrengthIn conjunction with the NYSOTA conference, which will bring several hundred occupational therapy personnel from across New York State to the College for the weekend, SUNY Orange’s Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology is holding the AT Expo from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday in the gymnasium. The Expo unites many local and regional vendors to showcase the latest products and services that allow Hudson Valley residents to enhance their ability to live independently. ELANT, Inc., Crystal Run Village, Inc., and SureHands Lift & Care Systems, Inc., are co-hosting the event with the College.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, SUNY Orange will also reconvene a display of community quilts crafted in the days and months following the terrorist attacks. These quilts were created as part of the 2001 project entitled “Weaving the Community Project: A Way to Remember, A Way to pay Tribute, A Way to Heal” that was spearheaded by SUNY Orange occupational therapy assistant students and funded by a grant from the United Way of Orange County.

The students invited community members to contribute squares for the quilts. The project was an unqualified success as 1,600 squares (nine inches by nine inches) were donated. Those squares were sewn by quilting volunteers into 34 quilts. The 34 quilts (approximately seven feet by seven feet) were unveiled in the Orange County Government Center in Goshen on Sept. 11, 2002, and remained on display there for six months. Since then, the quilts have resided in town, village and city offices, as well as libraries and health facilities throughout the county.

Many of these quilts will be borrowed from their official homes in order to create a moving display of community togetherness that was cemented 10 years ago and remains equally strong today. The quilts will serve as the backdrop for Manning’s keynote address on Saturday and will be on display at all weekend at the Expo.

PHOTO: Cover of The Luckiest PennySUNY Orange’s OTA students will add their own special contribution to the Expo when they deliver the premier performance of “The Luckiest Penny Musical” at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. This 30-minute children’s musical, written by Deborah Weed, reinforces for children the importance of unconditional love, teaches everyday values and encourages children to cherish and respect everyone.

“The Luckiest Penny Musical” will be co-hosted by SUNY Orange Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology; Warwick Valley Central School District, Autism Mov-a-thon, Crystal Run Village, Inc., Jewish Family Service of Orange County and ELANT Health Care Services.

Exhibits at the AT Expo will be of interest to people with disabilities, as well as family members; rehabilitation practitioners, teachers and school administrators; early intervention providers; vocational rehabilitation specialists; home healthcare providers; long term care providers; facility administrators; college professors and students; military personnel; and anyone who desires to live more independently, regardless of age.

Admission to Manning’s keynote address, the AT Expo and “The Luckiest Penny Musical” is free. For more information, contact Flo Hannes at (845) 341-4390 or via email at


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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940