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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., a Michigan-based personal injury law firm, is excited to announce Loyola High School of Detroit teacher Kathy Gross as the recipient of the inaugural Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Special Empowerment Hero Award.

The Special Empowerment Hero program was created in 2019 by Buckfire president Lawrence J. Buckfire to recognize amazing people in the community who work with children and adults with disabilities.

Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., a family-owned law firm, collected nominations identifying teachers, therapists, doctors, caregivers, volunteers and others who dedicate their time, energy, and enthusiasm to making their community a more accepting place.

Gross was nominated by a Special Olympics Michigan staff member.

An educator for more than 22 years, Gross oversees Loyola’s Unified Champion Schools program, which promotes positive attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities and promote social inclusion.

A biology teacher at Loyola, Gross also volunteers as a debate coach and works within the Detroit Urban Debate League, and serves as a coach for multiple Special Olympic sports programs.

“Kathy is a champion for students with and without intellectual disabilities,” said Gross’ nominator, who has elected to remain anonymous. “She works every day to give all students a chance to grow their leadership skills, get to know people that are different from themselves, and embrace every opportunity that comes their way. Kathy helps her students take part in any opportunity that presents itself. Even if it means she has to go far out of her way to make it happen.”

Buckfire Law has made a $250 donation in Gross’ name to Loyola High School, which is to be applied to the Unified Special Olympics program — specifically to help purchase uniforms for the program’s basketball team and cover competition entry fees.

“There is such a joy in working with children of all different abilities. They teach you to be better each day,” Gross said. “Often, when I’m helping a student, they are in turn helping me in ways that warm my heart. I wish everyone could have such a fulfilling job. Each day we have an opportunity to help someone. We just have to make the choice to do it.”

Gross has also elected to donate her $250 personal prize to the Blue Star Mothers of America Chapter #184.

Blue Star Mothers of America support families who have parents and children that are active duty military. An active volunteer within Chapter #184, Gross helped make more than 200 “Bravery Buddies” for children who have a parent currently deployed. According to Gross, the donation will cover the cost of postage to mail the dolls to children in time for the holiday.

“We’re proud and excited to recognize Kathy as the first ever Special Empowerment Award winner,” Buckfire Law president Lawrence J. Buckfire said. “She’s a perfect example of someone who constantly goes above and beyond to help make the world a more accepting place and empowers others to be their best.”

Special Empowerment Hero Nomination Form

*Nominations must be for different teachers or from different employees, multiple nominations for the same teacher from the same person will not count for more than one submission.

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