Pathfinder Services of Huntington honored individuals and organizations within the communities they serve at their annual community recognition dinner Tuesday evening at Huntington University. Chant Thompson from the Pathfinder Services Board of Directors was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.
At the dinner, Bill Oromo, the 2012 Herbert D. LaMont Award recipient, and Diane and Brian Adams, the daughter and grandson of Kay LaMont presented the prestigious Herbert D. LaMont award to Nancy and Keith Hartley. Keith Hartley is the District Manager of SuperWash and currently serves on the Pathfinder Services Board of Directors, the organization’s Marketing and Media Committee as well as the Executive Committee. Additionally, Nancy and Keith Hartley have been very involved in Special Olympics in Huntington County.
The Pathfinder Services Board of Directors gives the LaMont award annually in honor of the late Herbert D. LaMont, who was a major force in the development of services for individuals with disabilities in Huntington County.
Bill and Barbara Hancher presented the Timothy Hancher Direct Services Award to Amy Rakoczy, Direct Support Professional for Pathfinder Services since 1999. Bill Hancher, along with his wife Barbara initiated the Timothy Hancher Direct Services Award, honoring a Pathfinder staff person who has gone “above and beyond” in providing direct services to the Pathfinder clients. The award was founded in memory of the Hancher’s son, Timothy, who was born with severe developmental and physical disabilities and passed away in 1996 at the age of 26.
At the dinner, the Pathfinder Services Board of Directors Vice Chairman, Randy Sizemore, presented Outgoing Board Members with a Perske Print in appreciation of their six years of service. Honored this year were Tom Geren who began with the Board in 2008. Geren has also served on the Housing Committee, Succession Planning Committee, and has been a representative to the Kids Kampus Advisory Board. Also recognized was Becky Gerhart for her years of service since 2008. Gerhart also served on the Marketing and Media Relations Committee as well as the Finance and Succession Planning Committees. In addition to receiving the LaMont Award, Keith Hartley was also honored for his 6 years of service on the Board. Hartley has also been on the Pathfinder Services Board since 2008 and has served as Chair of the Marketing and Media Relations Committee, on the Executive Committee and has been the Secretary of the Board. Dave McEowen, current Pathfinder Services Board of Directors Chairman was thanked for his service since 2008 on the Board. McEowen has also served as the Chair of the Business Development Committee and on the Executive Committee.
At the dinner, Pathfinder Services gave Community Partner Awards to individuals and organizations that supported Pathfinder Services Inc. and their customers during the past fiscal year. Recipients include:
•Danielle Clements and Amanda Hartley of Huntington’s American Legion Post #85 for their support and service by hosting an annual Christmas party for the individuals served by Pathfinder Community Supports.
•Patty Hladik and Lisa Wissinger were recognized for their support of Pathfinder Kids Kampus. Patty and Lisa are very helpful in creating the Pathfinder Kids Kampus float for the Heritage Days Parade and other activities for the children served at Pathfinder Kids Kampus.
•Danny Lambert was recognized for his support of individuals served by Pathfinder Community Supports in Wabash and his involvement with Special Olympics of Wabash County.
•Walgreens of Huntington, Columbia City, and Fort Wayne on Creighton Avenue were honored for their partnership with Pathfinder Resource Connection throughout the year.
•Jennifer Stoler from B100 was recognized for her support of the individuals served by Pathfinder Community Supports in Plymouth.
•The Linville family was recognized for their generosity to the Huntington community in their time of grief by donating Sweet Deals Consignment Store to Pathfinder Services.
•Cline Transfer was honored for its partnership in providing storage space and delivery services for Pathfinder OutSource Manufacturing. Herb Scott accepted the award.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Alex Valdez, who can’t see. He may be blind, but he also can’t see obstacles stopping him from laughing his way into the hearts of people so they can be inspired to go beyond their perceived fears and limitations. Alex is a real pioneer having been the first comedian with a disability to gain national recognition as the winner of the first Norman Lear Comedy Competition. He has won the hearts and admiration of his audiences of all ages and today he is recognized as one of the best and entertaining disability awareness speakers and trainers.
Alex’s goal is “not only to help audiences accept his own and others’ disabilities, but to recognize that while we may all appear very different on the outside, on the inside we are all very much the same”. His message combined life experiences and years of diversity and disability training. Alex’s words were entertaining as well as inspiring.
Pathfinder Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit human services organization based in Huntington, where it was founded in 1966. Pathfinder Services envisions a community in which all people are valued and accepted and have control over their own destinies. In addition to Huntington County, Pathfinder Services also has office locations in Allen, Marshall, Wabash and Whitley Counties. For more information about Pathfinder Services, Inc. please visit www.pathfinderservices.org.