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There was plenty to celebrate at the annual Arc of Cumberland and Perry Counties Celebration held at Otterbein United Methodist Church in South Middleton Township on Saturday night.

Around 175 attendees gathered for the dinner and awards ceremony honoring the achievements of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as the dedication of CPARC staff, volunteers and donors. Master of ceremonies was James Crummel of ABC27 News.

“This is a big one,” said Trisha Grace, CPARC director of development. “This year is CPARC’s 65th anniversary. Plus, we have a new executive director and a new mission statement.”

Anne Couldridge stepped in as the organization’s executive director in October, though she isn’t new to CPARC. Before this, she served on the board of directors and was the organization’s director of development. Meanwhile, CPARC tightened its mission statement this year because the previous version “was pretty long,” Grace said.

Also new this year is the Russell W. Coe Philanthropic Leadership Award that “honors a leading philanthropist who embodies the qualities that defines philanthropic excellence through outstanding generosity, commitment and courage,” according to the evening’s program.

The first award was posthumously awarded to its namesake, “a generous donor and friend of CPARC.” Accepting the award was Coe’s friend Barbara Sandis.

Mission Central received this year’s Corporate Citizenship Award. The nonprofit organization supports CPARC’s Neighbors Program, as well donating items for the program.

“We’re glad to be working with CPARC and other organizations. It’s a collaborative effort to help others in need,” said Mission Central executive director Robert Visscher III.

Jerry Hymes, a 12-year CPARC employee, received the Vincent “Jim” Gurreri Legacy Award for this year. He is supervisor of the residential services’ 21st Street group home and leads various staff trainings.

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“I like seeing the potential in individuals and having them succeed in what they do,” Hymes said. He teaches residents skills like budgeting money, staying at home alone, seeking employment and shopping unsupervised.

The Luther S. Beers Distinguished Service Award was dedicated this year to Gary Bruch, better known as Santa Claus to many at CPARC. He and his wife, Ellie, volunteer at a number of the organization’s holiday events each year.

This year’s Laurel F. Jacobs Achievement Awards were awarded to four CPARC clients demonstrating outstanding effort and progress: Elise Binder, Asia Crawford, Marion Horstmann and Michael Piccolo.

Elise began working at the S. Wilson Pollock Center for Industrial Training in 2010 while in high school. After a year, however, she had difficulty keeping up with production tasks and getting along with her 40 co-workers. Under the guidance of her one-on-one aide, Susan Nielson, Elise broke through these issues and is moving into a group home.

Asia “transitioned very well” to living in her own apartment and becoming more self-sufficient, according to Saturday’s program. She schedules her own doctor’s appointments, shops for groceries and cleans on her own.

Marion maintained “a sense of unwavering hopefulness” during medical treatment for two major illnesses in the past year. “When I think of Marion, I think of bravery and resilience,” program specialist Crystal Stumbaugh said.

Michael has learned how to use his iPad to communicate his wants and needs while at the program or in the community. He now orders restaurant lunches on his own and has learned how to bowl. He also volunteers for several duties at Mission Central and is working with a job coach in hopes of attaining competitive employment in the community.

Finally, CPARC employees were recognized on Saturday for their years of service:

  • 5 years: Valbona Hada, David Kovac, Cathy Koppenhaffer, Walter Shroy, Lona Klase, Jenny Foster, Crystal Stumbaugh, Michael Ross, Tammy O’Hara, Judee Krafsig-Kearney, Nicole Swift, Michael Owens, Katherine O’Donnell and Lauren Fogal
  • 10 years: Dale Thorpe, Casey Minnich, Daryn Puhala, Melissa Fuller, Elizabeth Kenes, Betsy Tuttle, Amy Miller, Renee Rouner, Denise Wicker, Denise Barrick and Kasey Keach
  • 15 years: Nicole McCoy, Wanda Flewelling and Robin McCanna
  • 20 years: Nancy Stone, Kirit Pandya, Vicki Snyder, Sally Slautterback, Cheryl Linnenbach, Charles Fickes, Wendy Stuber and Sonia Fair
  • 25 years: Kathy Fearnbaugh and Joe Belanger
  • 30 years: Tia Bruner

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