The theme of this year’ CPARC Celebration was spring, even if the weather felt very much like winter when the annual awards show took place at Otterbein United Methodist Church in South Middleton Township on Saturday night.
“I try to come up with a theme each year. This year is a spring theme, even though it’s freezing outside. I’m hoping that the spring theme will pep up everyone,” said Adrienne Williams, public relations specialist for the Arc of Cumberland & Perry Counties.
Cold weather or not, there still was plenty of pep in the steps of this year’s award winners and all who came to support them. About 180 attendees stood in line for a buffet dinner of roast turkey with all the fixings that was cooked and served by a team of Otterbein U.M. Church volunteers.
“I love this event. It is truly inspiring,” said James Crummel, co-host of “ABC27 Daybreak,” who was returning for his second stint as the event’s master of ceremonies.
The CPARC Celebration honors people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for their exceptional accomplishments and outstanding volunteers for unyielding hours of dedicated service.
“The whole point of this event is to honor and recognize our participants and their families, our employees and our community partners. It’s not a fundraiser. We use this time to thank everyone,” CPARC Executive Director John Reardon said.
“I like seeing all the residents and their families that I serve here. It’s a nice way to say thanks to all of our volunteers and staff,” said David Reed, chair of the 2017 CPARC Board of Directors.
Winners of this year’s Laurel F. Jacobs Achievement Awards were CPARC clients Marylee M. and Mark. Marylee started attending Life Time Adult Day Care in 2013 and resides in a CPARC group home. At first, she was “very shy and had very little communications skills,” according to the evening’s program, but has since secured many friendships. She uses pictures as a method of communication and has overcome a fear of going to the doctor.
Mark started vocational training at the S. Wilson Pollock Center for Industrial Training in 1999 as a work study student. After graduating from high school, he returned there to work on the shop floor before beginning work at the DANA Corp. Transitional Training Program in 2001. He then moved to the Dickinson College Dining Services TTP, where he worked for 14½ years. In 2016, he started working for Dickinson College Dining Services on a competitive basis.
Recipient of this year’s Luther S. Beers Distinguished Service Award was Jefferson Charles of Elizabethtown, a maintenance worker and carpenter who was recognized for his “selfless dedication to helping anyone in need.” Over the years, Charles has mounted grab bars in group homes so residents can live independently, constructed a group home ramp, and even transported his snow blower during the blizzard of 2016 to clear out 3 feet of snow for CPARC residents and their neighbors.
Charles appeared modest about his accomplishments. “It’s something to do. It keeps me out of trouble. I love building stuff,” said Charles, father of CPARC Green Street group home supervisor Jenna Charles, who was recognized for 10 years of service on Saturday.
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Winner of the Vincent “Jim” Gurreri Legacy Award was Mahmood Yusaf, a 26-year CPARC employee. He works as a group home supervisor, where Yusaf is said to know and understand his staff very well. “The (staff) retention rate at his home is unbelievably high, which leads to a higher quality of care for the residents,” according to the evening’s program.
Orrstown Bank was awarded the 2017 Corporate Citizen Award “as a longstanding community partner.” Orrstown Bank helped CPARC establish its first gift annuity in 2007, assisted with a short-term mortgage for a group home in 2010, and is an ongoing supporter of CPARC’s food service, the Sassy Gourmet, and more.
“We are proud to be a part of this. I’ve been involved with several events. We’re glad to help in any way we can,” said Christina Dudley, executive officer of Orrstown Bank’s Duncannon and New Bloomfield branches.
These CPARC employees were recognized on Saturday for their years of service:
Five years — Jillene Parmelee, Harley Blessing, Esther Cohick, Rosinda Hopple, Sylvia Melarangi, Curtis Girvin, Jessica Carey-Loy, Andrew Sandrik, Eugene Dixon, Laura Cuevas, Denise Lindsey, Ellen Gladfelter, Kristy Lanser, Cathy Barrick.
10 years — Lisa Bohenick, Stephen Bye, Beth Wacker, Jennifer Anthony, Emileen Baughman, Kay Reilly, Amber Trimmer, Cara Rhone, Stephanie Rybacki, Sara Quay, Diann Kitner, Jenna Charles.
15 years — Donna Davenport, Stephen Karalus, Stephanie Cassell, Ginny Pentz, Jenny Gonser.
20 years — Marge Gallagher, Brenda Jumper, Cynthia Myrick.
25 years — Joyce Mullen, Laura Belanger, Stacy Mayberry, Michelle Graby.
30 years – Jane Zarker, Peggy Lego, Karen Connolly.
35 years — Sherriel Golden.