Nacogdoches Festival aims to educate public about disability programs

This is the first year the annual event is back after going through a hiatus due to COVID-19.
Published: Oct. 9, 2022 at 10:37 AM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Ability Strong Festival in Nacogdoches is about getting people with disabilities educated on resources they can take advantage of to improve their quality of life, according to Victor Galon, chair of the Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

“Anything from prosthetics to wheelchairs or vans,” Galon said. “There’re a lot of different programs out there that are funded by the state or federal government that allow them to get these things that allow them to be more mobile.”

But, the fun of the event is just as important according to Katherine McClure of Independence Manor, which specializes in housing for people with disabilities.

“One of our ladies that is in a chair, she’s on a horse,” McClure said, while pointing to the ponies.

That lady was Melevly Tutt, who was raised in the country and went straight to the ponies. She said this could be the last time she might be able to ride the ponies while she has some use of her legs.

“It gives people something to do besides being stuck at home all the time,” Tutt said about the event.

This is the first year the annual event is back after going through a hiatus due to COVID-19. It included a petting zoo, live music, food and more, all free to the public.

Galon says the fun activities get people to come out, but educating the public is the main goal.

“It’s to get people out here learning about these sorts of things. A lot of people don’t know about the mayor’s committee, don’t know what’s accessible to them,” Galon said.