INARF was proud to honor three exemplary Individuals and one outstanding organization at the 2014 INARF Annual Awards Luncheon on March 13. The INARF Annual Awards Luncheon has been an Association tradition for many years. This yearly opportunity enables INARF members to recognize the significant contributions and outstanding efforts of individuals and community partners committed to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Lettie Gentry, a DSP for ResCare, Inc., was recognized with the Keystone Award for outstanding service by a Direct Support Professional. Lettie began working in a ResCare group home in 1988, and has dedicated her life to the development of meaningful and productive activities for the individuals she serves. She strives to fill each day with experiences that lead to more independence and more involvement in the community. When asked about the relationship she has with the people with whom she works, she answered, "Family...I care about them like they are family, because they are." Lettie recently received two letters from families whose loved ones live in the home, commending her on her dedication to service over the past twenty-five years.
Jamie McGraw, a client of LOGAN Community Resources, Inc., received the Justin Dart Personal Achievement Award for his volunteerism and work toward disability awareness. When not working at the South Bend Medical Foundation as a Blood Donor Attendant, he is devoted to educating the greater community on disabilities, attitudes, technology, and resources. In the summer of 2013, Jamie created a benefit for LOGAN called "Jamie's Challenge" in honor of the tenth anniversary of LOGANS's Run. Not only did he surpass his fundraising goal, his activities dramatically increased awareness of LOGAN's mission. INARF is proud to honor Jamie with this prestigious award.
The 2014 Partnership Award went to the Whitley County Community Foundation for their support of Passages, Inc. and individuals with disabilities. Not only has the foundation donated over $100,000 to the Passages Creative Learning Center, the employees of WCCF are personally active in the service of individuals with disabilities. September McConnell, Executive Director, has tirelessly served on Passages' Board of Directors, Committees, and in the creation of artistic events showcasing artwork by individuals with disabilities. Vanessa Bills, WCCF's Business Director, in addition to serving on the Board of Directors, founded "The Dazzlers," a cheerleading group for teenagers with intellectual and physical disabilities. WCCF and its dedicated employees truly encompass the tenants of the INARF Partnership Award.
Finally, INARF honored Nancy Hoffman, Executive Director of the Arc of Wabash County, with the prestigiousJames M. Hammond III Award, for excellence in leadership in the Human Services Industry. Nancy has been employed at the Arc for 38 years, in jobs ranging from Daily Living Skills Teacher to her current post as the agency's top executive. She is dedicated to providing quality programs to individuals with disabilities, and is not afraid to develop new services in response to identified needs. For example, Nancy implemented a residential program when she learned that several individuals in the community were facing homelessness. Her business acumen is directly responsible for the agency's health, even in times of shifting funding streams and limited resources. Nancy is fully engaged in her community, and volunteers her time in several local, state, and national organizations.