On a warm, mild evening that finally felt like spring, a cheerful crowd of nearly 200 filed into Otterbein United Methodist Church in South Middleton Township on Saturday for the Arc of Cumberland and Perry Counties’ 2019 Celebration.

CPARC’s annual dinner and awards ceremony honors the achievements of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as CPARC’s dedicated staff, volunteers and donors.

“This is another great way we have of celebrating the staff and donors we have, and for our individuals and their families to celebrate their triumphs and overcoming their challenges,” said Lauren Cappuccio, CPARC public relations specialist.

Before the awards presentation, attendees were treated to a turkey dinner with all the fixings, prepared and served by a volunteer crew from Otterbein United Methodist Church. Dinner music was performed on a volunteer basis by pianist Pat Strickler and Joanne Anderson on cello.

Serving as this year’s master of ceremonies was state Rep. Barbara Gleim, R-Carlisle, who was noted by CPARC executive director Anne Couldridge as “a big supporter” of the organization. Gleim told the crowd that her many duties include serving on the state House Human Services Committee.

Each year, CPARC’s Laurel F. Jacobs Achievement Award is given to consumers of CPARC services who have met challenges, overcome difficulties, and gone on to lead a life that inspires others.

The 2019 recipients, who were only identified by first names and last initials, were Beth C., Blenda W. and Michael S. Beth was noted for sending out handmade cards to staff, their families and former staff, and she was featured in “Reader’s Digest” when she herself received cards from all over the world for her 50th birthday. Blenda won “Trainee of the Year” for her hard work, and Michael, or “Mick,” was noted for bringing a “breath of fresh air” to Life Time Adult Day Care.

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The Luther S. Beers Distinguished Service Award is given annually to a deserving CPARC volunteer. The 2019 recipient was Laurie Kohler, whose many duties include coordinating each year’s “Angels Program.” In 2018, 75 gifts were donated to the program, with Kohler organizing giftwrapping for individuals in CPARC’s residential services.

The Vincent “Jim” Gurreri Legacy Award is given in honor of a former CPARC executive director who dedicated 37 years of service. This year’s awardee was Miluzca Trujillo, also known as Milo, who works for CPARC residential services. She is “known for doing her own research and as a strong advocate for her folks,” among other attributes.

The Corporate Citizen Award is given to a company or businesses whose philosophy of giving has made a significant impact on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. For 2019, CPARC recognized Thomas Fitzpatrick & Sons Plumbing and Heating of Carlisle, represented on Saturday by Thomas Fitzpatrick III. Fitzpatrick said he works closely with CPARC property manager Ellen Gladfelter, whom he considers “family.”

“It’s a wonderful organization,” he said.

Gladfelter, in turn, said that Fitzpatrick’s firm is always quick to arrive for emergencies and take care to work in a manner that’s not invasive to CPARC residents.

The Russell W. Coe Philanthropic Leadership Award was established by CPARC three years ago to individuals “who define philanthropic excellence through outstanding generosity, commitment and courage.” This year’s was awarded posthumously to Kurt Suter, who served on CPARC’s board of directors from 1999-2011 and maintained executive positions through his service. His many accomplishments included direct involvement with acquiring a land donation from Commerce Bank in 2005 that led to building CPARC’s main office, the G.B. Stuart Center. Suter also was directly involved with the building’s planning and construction.

Suter, who died in January 2018, was represented on Saturday by his widow, Pam Suter, and several members of his family. Pam Suter noted the G.B. Stuart Center as her husband’s “most crowning achievement.”

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