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Community Partners

TECH Recognizes Community Partners in Annual Awards Ceremony

April 6, 2022

Each year, TECH recognizes local community partners for the impact they make on TECH and the people we serve. This year, we had the privilege of honoring three local companies and their people for their contributions to TECH’s mission. We are incredibly grateful for the support from our Hutchinson and Reno County community.


President's Award

The President’s Award is given to a person or company that has made significant contributions in the lives of the people served by TECH. This award has been given in the past for many reasons, but always given as a result of having direct impact on the people we serve. This year, we are honored to recognize Karen Hammersmith with the Reno County Health Department as the 2022 President’s Award recipient.

About Karen and TECH’s Partnership with the Reno County Health Department

Community is defined by Webster’s dictionary as a unified body of individuals. COVID-19 showed this world, just how divided we could get on a single topic. When COVID started in 2020, TECH realized very quickly the need for a strategic plan to protect our most precious resources: the people we serve and the people who we employ. Over the years, Karen has worked with our population to support community health efforts and has been instrumental in many clinics that TECH has provided, so she naturally seemed like the best person to engage in a pandemic.

Karen’s steadfast dedication to Reno County was very evident in all she has done and continues to do for TECH. There was not one email, phone call, text message or any other type of communication that she did not answer with precise information and a most pleasant nature. Keep in mind, she wore many hats: Temporary Director of the Reno County Health Department, The County Health Officer, or Assistant Director of Clinical Services.

COVID-19 has been horrific, but because of Karen and the connections she helped TECH create, TECH stands strong. Our Employees. Our Clients. Our Guests. Our Vendors. All have continued to move forward in their professional and personal lives because of Karen. To this day, Karen Hammersmith is one of the most valued community partners that TECH has. THANK YOU, Karen!

About the TECH Artwork“Sunshine Colors” Print by Carrie Hoke

Community Partner Award

The Community Partner Award is given to a company or person that helps move our mission forward. In the past, we’ve recognized local businesses that we partner with, board members, volunteers and event partners. This year, we are proud to recognize Carlos O’Kelly’s as the 2022 Community Partner recipient.

About TECH’s Partnership with Carlos O’Kelly’s

Carlos O’Kelly’s has employed Donald Wilson, an individual served by TECH for many years. They have gone above and beyond to support him in so many different. Whenever there have been obstacles for Donald and the job duties he was being asked to perform, the folks at Carlo’s O’Kelly’s really step up and assisted him in working through the challenge. They also go the extra mile to do special things for Donald, such as making him his own Easter basket every year which he always looks forward to and honoring him for his hard work and dedication. Thank you to the entire team at Carlos O’Kelly’s for being such a wonderful partner!

About the TECH Artwork – Donald Wilson painted an original piece of artwork just for Carlos O’Kelly’s. The bright chili pepper makes us all smile!


Good Neighbor Award

The Good Neighbor Award is given to a local business or community partner that is a stand out neighbor to one of our multiple TECH locations, whether it is a TECH group home, day service program and or the TECH ART Gallery and Administrative offices. This year, we are proud to recognize the Toy Depot as the 2022 Good Neighbor recipient.

About TECH’s Partnership with the Toy Depot

Mark and Geneva have been long-time supporters of TECH. Our relationship with the Toy Depot began before they even opened their doors for business! When we were looking for venues to help create Main Street Hops, Mark and Geneva willingly opened their doors to 500 participants for the event in an effort to support TECH and help raise funds. Over the years, TECH outgrew their day service space on Main Street and became a neighbor of the Toy Depot, moving into the old Midwest Feed Building. Mark is often looking after TECH staff and the people we serve by doing small acts of service that could very easily be overlooked. From checking in on our artists as they paint the mural in the alley to advocating for new lights along the street and in the alley to ensure our safety, he always has our best interest at heart. Thank you to Mark and Geneva for their long-time and continued support of TECH and for being such an amazing neighbor!

About the TECH Artwork – “Wheel of the Circus” Print by Dee Hermes