There was no cowardly lion or caped superhero at Courage Center's 2011 Celebration of Courage, but there was plenty of moral strength on display.

The Twin Cities area nonprofit agency is a rehabilitation and resource center devoted to helping people with disabilities, from brain injuries to strokes to autism.

With help from the Twins, Courage Center recently won a grant to build a home field for its wheelchair softball teams.

One person who truly understands Courage Center is James S. Krause, who won the night's National Courage Award. A native of Wadena, Minn., and a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, he's an expert on longevity following a spinal cord injury and a former resident of Courage Center. He lived there from 1976 to 1979 while he was working on his Ph.D.

"I was able to go to school and receive some therapy, and that prepared me for whatever else," he said. "Forty years since my injury, to have this event has been very special."

While in the Twin Cities area, he visited the facility. "From the moment you go there, you see people with disabilities -- there's so much commitment from the staff and volunteers," he said.

Among those volunteers at the celebration was Doris Rosen, who has been volunteering for more than five years. She was accompanied by her son, WCCO's Mark Rosen, and Rosalie Vascellaro.

"Frank [Vascellaro] and I are more proud of our mothers than we are of anything we do," Mark Rosen said. "I'm just the escort for the grannies; they're the stars."

His mother felt there were others who also deserve credit.

Courage Center "is a very rewarding place to be: Everyone smiles. Everyone is friendly," Doris Rosen said.

Now that's worth celebrating.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177