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MERIDIAN BANCORP RECEIVES AWARD FROMNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR A BARRIER-FREE AMERICA

 READING, Pa., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Ezekiel S. Ketchum, president and chief operating officer of Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRDN), accepted the 1993 Barrier-free America Award, an honor bestowed to Meridian by National Council for a Barrier-free America (NCBA).
 NCBA, a non-profit organization helping American communities develop an environment of support for persons with disabilities, bestows this award annually to businesses throughout America that have made exceptional efforts in responding to the needs of the disabled.
 Clint Keritner, president of Reading Rehabilitation Hospital, the local NCBA member, presented the award during a special lunch-time celebration of National Rehabilitation Week by the hospital's staff. The award consists of an official U.S. flag that was flown at the White House in Washington, as well as certificates documenting the flag's authenticity and the presentation of the award by the hospital.
 "Meridian was selected because of their proven record in responding to the needs of people with disabilities living and working throughout eastern Pennsylvania," said Dan Roberts, NCBA executive director, who was also present at the ceremony. As an example, Roberts listed some of the programs and services for the disabled in place by Meridian: wheelchair access to automated teller machines, telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD), product and service information on audio cassettes for the visually impaired, and a disability awareness training course for bank employees.
 According to Warren Moore, who serves on Meridian's Americans with Disabilities Act Task Force, "We've always been proactive in hiring people with disabilities." One of those employees was in attendance during today's celebration. Erik Johnson, who works in the Loan Review department at Meridian Bank's Fifth and Penn Branch in Reading, lost the use of his legs when he was still in high school. In the years he has worked at Meridian Bank, he has found the bank's staff more than willing to help him adjust to his work environment. When he first came to the branch, one of the physical barriers was his low desk. The problem was quickly remedied when a co-worker sawed off the drawer which was blocking Johnson's wheelchair. Other steps in making the office more accessible for Johnson were keeping files reachable and conveniently placing the typewriter.
 "Meridian's actions reflect business realism," said Roberts. "Better access, and a staff that can provide accommodating service, adds up to more customers. In the end, everybody wins."
 /delval/
 -0- 9/24/93
 /CONTACT: Dan Roberts, executive director of the NCBA, 215-775-8384/


CO: Meridian Bancorp, Inc.; National Council for a Barrier-free America ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

MK-LJ -- PH001 -- 5299 09/24/93 08:42 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 24, 1993
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