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TECH Celebrates Client Recognition

March 13, 2024

On Friday, March 8th, TECH celebrated our annual Client Recognition Night! This is an evening where we look back at the previous year and celebrate years of service with TECH as well as outstanding achievements for the people we serve.

This year, we recognized over 45 individuals for their time with TECH as well as personal growth in the following categories; Independence, Creativity, Self-Worth and Connection (all four are Pillars here at TECH).

A special thanks to Jason Younger for emceeing our event for the 25th year as well as board members, Cindy Miller, Denny Stoecklein, Kathy Wagoner, Sheila Meggers, Jason Hatch, Scott Miles, and Shane Katz for helping to present our awards!

2024 Special Category Honorees

Independence

Living and working as independently as they are able

  • Kim Pickerill: Kim’s journey toward independence is both inspiring and commendable, making her a fitting recipient of the Independence award. Over the past year, Kim has demonstrated a strong desire to take charge of her life and pursue activities that bring her joy and fulfillment. From wanting to explore more outings with her peers to actively engaging in tasks such as grocery shopping and laundry, Kim’s determination to become more self-reliant is evident. Despite occasional doubts or fears, she pushes forward, motivated by her goals and supported by gentle reminders of her capabilities. Even her brother, who sees her less frequently, noticed a remarkable transformation in her appearance and demeanor, reflecting the strides she’s made towards independence. Kim’s willingness to embrace new experiences, even in bad weather conditions, speaks volumes about her resilience and determination. With each step she takes towards greater autonomy, Kim inspires those around her and sets an example of courage and perseverance. Congratulations, Kim, on this well-deserved recognition of your journey towards independence and the remarkable progress you’ve made.
  • Michael Morris: Mike’s remarkable independence and self-sufficiency in the community make him a standout candidate for the Independence award. Embracing the opportunities provided by Roving services, Mike has demonstrated an impressive level of independence and capability in managing his daily life. From handling household chores like laundry and cleaning to preparing meals and snacks, Mike navigates his responsibilities with ease and confidence. His proactive approach extends to seeking assistance when needed, showcasing a balanced understanding of his capabilities and limits. Moreover, Mike’s dedication to his work at the Work Center underscores his reliability and commitment to personal growth. As he continues to flourish in both his professional and personal endeavors, Mike exemplifies the essence of independence and serves as an inspiration to others in his community. Congratulations, Mike, on this well-deserved recognition of your resilience, diligence, and unwavering independence.
  • Ricky Nall: Ricky’s remarkable progress and determination towards independence within TECH residential services make him a deserving recipient of the Independence award. Since his transition, Ricky has shown exceptional growth in his abilities and mindset. Taking ownership of his personal space, he has actively worked towards maintaining cleanliness and organization, reflecting a newfound sense of responsibility. Ricky’s willingness to tackle tasks independently, from making his bed to fetching a drink, demonstrates his commitment to self-sufficiency and empowerment. His strides towards independence are evident and commendable, highlighting his resilience and determination to thrive in his environment. Congratulations, Ricky, on this well-deserved recognition of your journey towards independence and the inspiring example you set for others.

Self-Worth

Feel productive through meaningful work, engaging activities, and opportunities to learn new skills

  • Eric Saunders: Eric embodies resilience and self-worth, making him a deserving recipient of the Self-Worth award. Despite encountering new challenges as he navigates through life’s journey, Eric consistently demonstrates an admirable ability to persevere. Even when faced with moments of doubt and difficulty, he confronts them with courage and determination, emerging stronger each time. His steadfast belief in his own value and capabilities serves as an inspiration to those around him, showcasing the power of resilience in the face of adversity. Congratulations, Eric, on this well-deserved recognition of your self-worth.
  • Jackie Clothier: Jackie exemplifies resilience and steadfast determination, making her a shining recipient of the Self-Worth award. From her early beginnings in the community, Jackie has embraced every opportunity with enthusiasm and dedication. Starting with cleaning duties at the Early Education Center during her high school years, Jackie’s commitment to contributing positively to her community was evident. Her volunteering efforts at the Dillon’s Living Center further underscore her compassionate nature and willingness to lend a helping hand. Jackie’s journey through various employment roles, from McDonald’s to her current position at Dillon’s, reflects her strong work ethic and adaptability. Throughout it all, Jackie has not only found fulfillment in her work but has also forged meaningful connections with those around her, enriching her sense of self-worth along the way. Congratulations, Jackie, on this well-deserved recognition of your resilience and the value you bring to both your work and your community.
  • Marion Combs: Marion’s journey of self-discovery and growth shines brightly, making him a deserving recipient of the Self-Worth award. Over the past year, Marion has enthusiastically embraced new responsibilities and tasks, finding joy and fulfillment in lending a helping hand. From assisting with household chores like folding laundry and putting away dishes to eagerly running errands, Marion’s eagerness to contribute is truly inspiring. His development in following simple instructions reflects his growing confidence and capability, demonstrating his willingness to learn and adapt. Marion’s genuine desire to be helpful and engaged is evident in his actions, as he eagerly participates in various household activities, from cooking dinner to packing lunches. By actively involving Marion in these tasks, he not only gains valuable skills but also a sense of pride and self-worth. Congratulations, Marion, on this well-deserved recognition of your growth, enthusiasm, and invaluable contributions to your household.

Creativity

Finding fulfillment through creative expression

  • John Healey: John’s unwavering determination and creative spirit make him a deserving recipient of the Creativity award. Despite facing challenges in translating his thoughts onto canvas, John’s passion for painting knows no bounds. He approaches each opportunity to create with enthusiasm and a relentless drive to overcome obstacles. In the studio, he has not only honed his artistic skills but also forged deep connections with his peers, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment. Through dedication and practice, John has transformed his struggles into triumphs, producing breathtaking artwork that reflects his unique style and personality. His ability to channel his inner creativity into tangible expressions of beauty serves as an inspiration to all who know him. Congratulations, John, on this well-deserved recognition of your boundless creativity and resilience in the face of adversity.
  • Jeff Emrick: Jeff’s remarkable talent and passion for painting shine brightly, making him a standout candidate for the Creativity award. Immersed in the vibrant atmosphere of the TECH Art Studio, Jeff has unleashed his creativity through a multitude of captivating paintings. Notably, his commissioned piece for the HCC, featuring their logo, stands as a testament to his dedication and love for his favorite team. Jeff poured his heart and soul into this project, demonstrating meticulous attention to detail and a profound connection to its significance. Another standout creation, “Heidi,” a colorful giraffe, showcases Jeff’s innate ability to captivate viewers with his unique artistic vision. Despite being relatively new to the art world, Jeff approaches each painting with a clear sense of purpose, often assigning meaningful names that reflect his mission behind the work. His determination, devotion, and advocacy for both himself and his friends further underscore his creative prowess and deservingness of this recognition. Congratulations, Jeff, on this well-deserved acknowledgment of your exceptional creativity and artistic achievements.
  • Casey McLain: Casey’s passion for art and dedication to creativity make him a standout candidate for the Creativity award. With an innate drive to bring his artistic visions to life, Casey thrives in the realm of creating artwork. In 2023, Casey’s talent and commitment were showcased through a stellar commissioned piece for HCC, featuring their logo, which dazzled everyone! Casey’s ability to infuse joy and enthusiasm into his work is evident in his approach to painting in the TECH Art Studio, where he transforms each session into a delightful and engaging experience. His creativity knows no bounds, and his contributions to the world of art inspire and uplift all those around him. Congratulations, Casey, on this well-deserved recognition of your exceptional creativity and artistic achievements.

Connection

Having loving relationships with family through every transition, enjoying friendships with peers and caring staff, and be a valued member of the Hutchinson community

  • David Burns: David’s journey toward fostering meaningful connections exemplifies the spirit of the Connection award. Transitioning from independent living to a group home setting, David has flourished in an environment where companionship and support are readily available around the clock. Despite initial reservations about moving from his apartment, David’s willingness to explore new possibilities led him to embrace the idea of communal living. Since making the transition, he has thrived in the company of his housemates, actively engaging in shared activities and forming bonds that have enriched his life. Not only has David’s social circle expanded, but his overall well-being has also seen improvement, a testament to the profound impact of forging connections with others. Through his journey, David serves as a example of the transformative power of human connection in enhancing one’s quality of life. Congratulations, David, on this well-deserved recognition of your courage, adaptability, and the meaningful relationships you’ve cultivated.
  • Ronda Wait: Ronda’s commitment to nurturing connections with her loved ones epitomizes the essence of the Connection award. Despite life’s busy schedule, Ronda prioritizes regular communication with her family and cherished friends. With bi-weekly phone calls to both of her brothers and monthly visits with her best friend, Ronda demonstrates a dedication to staying connected and maintaining meaningful relationships. In a world where time often slips away, Ronda’s deliberate efforts to sustain these connections serve as a beacon of warmth and love in the lives of those she holds dear. Her genuine investment in fostering these bonds not only strengthens her own sense of belonging but also brings joy and fulfillment to those fortunate enough to share in her life. Congratulations, Ronda, on this well-deserved recognition of your heartfelt connections and the profound impact they have on the lives of those around you.
  • Bri Mullins: Bri’s exceptional ability to forge meaningful connections with her team leader and housemates makes her a shining example of the Connection award. Always ready to lend a helping hand, particularly to Trish and Alyssa, Bri’s compassion and empathy create a supportive and uplifting environment. She effortlessly offers distraction and humor to ease transitions between tasks, fostering a sense of camaraderie and unity within the group. Bri’s genuine concern for others and her heart of gold serve as the foundation for the strong bonds she forms. With her remarkable qualities, Bri’s future holds endless possibilities for further growth and positive impact on those around her. Congratulations to Bri on this well-deserved recognition, and may her connections continue to flourish and inspire.

Maurice F. Cummings Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is presented to individuals who have continued to exhibit and demonstrate perseverance and determination in view of challenging obstacles.

Carmen Jantz is our 2024 Maurice F. Cummings Lifetime Achievement Honoree

Independence – Carmen’s strides towards independence are truly remarkable. She serves as her own guardian and payee, managing all her financial responsibilities and bills with ease. Carmen takes pride in homeownership, handling maintenance tasks and seeking assistance for home improvements like a new roof. Navigating her community independently, she relies on biking or public transportation and arranges her medical appointments without assistance. Carmen’s self-reliance extends to everyday tasks such as shopping, reflecting her determination to handle challenges herself. Her journey is a testament to her growth and resilience in achieving independence in various aspects of her life.

Self-worth – Carmen’s extensive work history and steadfast dedication to her employment showcase her remarkable growth in the Self-Worth category. From her early days in high school working in the lunchroom to her current position at Walmart, Carmen has continuously demonstrated her commitment to her career. Despite changes in the businesses she worked for, Carmen’s strong work ethic and skills enabled her to adapt and retain her job, showcasing her confidence and value in the workplace. Her decision to seek additional employment at Dickinson Theatre reflects her desire for personal growth and fulfillment. Carmen’s ongoing employment at Walmart for over two decades is a testament to her perseverance and sense of self-worth. Additionally, her participation in the Kansas Working Healthy and WORK program highlights her determination to maintain her independence while pursuing her career goals. Carmen’s journey is a testament to her resilience and belief in her own abilities, making her a shining example of growth in the Self-Worth category.

Connection – Carmen’s deep connection to her community is truly remarkable. Actively engaged in TECH activities like bowling and bingo, she also participates in a bowling league and enjoys sports through Hutch Rec. Carmen’s vibrant social circle extends beyond her hobbies; she has forged meaningful friendships through work and various activities. Moreover, Carmen’s dedication to community service shines through her involvement in fundraising for March of Dimes and her past volunteering efforts, including speaking about TECH services and reading to students. Whether it’s lending a hand at a flea market booth or giving back to her community in other ways, Carmen’s commitment to connection is evident in all she does.

Creativity – Carmen’s vibrant creativity shines through in her diverse artistic pursuits. From crafting to crocheting, Carmen consistently showcases her talents by entering crafts in the State Fair annually and adorning her yard for holidays. Her inventive spirit extends to customizing her bicycle for the 4th of July Parade and participating in the Christmas light competition. Recently, Carmen has ventured into clay work, attending ClayWorks sessions monthly to explore this new medium. Through her passion for creativity and eagerness to explore different art forms, Carmen embodies the essence of the Creativity category, inspiring others with her imaginative endeavors.

Community Partner Honorees

Mike’s Barber Shop
2024 Community Partner Award

Shawna Hopkins
2024 Outstanding Volunteer Award

Friendly Bingo
2024 President’s Award

Congratulations to all of our honorees!