Community members honored at DD Luncheon

| March 11, 2019

The Coshocton Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month Luncheon was held Thursday, March 7 at M Event Center with the following people receiving awards: Back row from left: Steve Tyner from Fanatics received the employer award for Angela Johnson, who was unable to attend; Frank Luce from RHDD received the local hero award; and Jalen Berry, individual spotlight award. Front row: Kate Christner from Hopewell Industries, dedication award; Chaz Matthews of Capital Prosthetics and Orthotic Care, dedication award; Todd Walker, individual spotlight award; and Wilma Griffith of Family Physicians, community partner award.

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month Luncheon was held Thursday, March 7 at the M Event Center with many awards given to local community members. The theme this year was technology and how technology can help those living with a disability.

Students in fourth through sixth grade were asked to write an essay on how technology can assist someone with a disability and how it can make them feel included. Three of the top essays were read during the luncheon.

Steve Oster, superintendent of the Coshocton County Board of DD, presented the awards with the help of Jill Lahna. The first award was the local hero award and is given to someone who exemplifies a selfless nature.  This year, the award went to Frank Luce of RHDD.

“I’m happy to work here,” said Luce. “It’s changed me in big ways.”

The employer award goes to someone who makes their workplace a successful place to work and thrive. This year’s award went to Angela Johnson of Fanatics, who was unable to attend. Steve Tyner accepted the award for her.

“Thank you for your partnership with this program,” said Tyner. “We’re happy to be a part of it.”

Chaz Matthews of Capital Prosthetics and Orthotic Care spoke about the future of prosthetics and how they can be beneficial to those with a disability.

“I appreciate the opportunity to come to Coshocton and see the kids at Hopewell School,” he said. “That alone has changed me. Working with the staff has changed my whole outlook on how I approach patients.”

Oster then presented the community partner award to Wilma Griffith from Family Physicians. She has been associated with the county board of DD for 20 years.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” she said. “It takes love, caring, and understanding, and just everything you would do for your own child. You end up just falling in love with all of them.”

The dedication award is given to a person who has helped those with a disability whether it’s during work hours or on their own time. This year’s award went to Matthews, who has been involved with DD for over 15 years, and to Kate Christner from Hopewell Industries.

“I promise to continue doing the best I can for your kids, your community, and your family members,” said Matthews. “I’m shocked and honored by this award.”

“I love my job and I love the people I work with,” said Christner. “I do it because I care about them.”

Because of a grant from The Ohio State University, the Board of DD was able to create remote support ambassadors, which allows those with disabilities to live in their own home with remote support. Those who live on their own and have remote support ambassadors spoke about the support they receive and how it has helped them to live in their homes more independently. Those who spoke were Candice Mills and December Gfell.

The luncheon concluded with two individual spotlight awards which are given to people with disabilities who have overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. This year’s award went to Todd Walker and Jalen Berry.

“I like my job,” said Walker, who works at Fanatics. “It’s really great. When I started my job, I really liked it. It’s great to have a job because I never had a job. It feels really good right now because I’m making money.”

Berry brought nearly everyone to tears as he thanked his mom for all she has done for him in his life. He also talked about his passion for singing and basketball.

“This is amazing for me,” he said. “I love playing basketball and next year will be my 10th year. I’m going to make this a great team. For me to sing in the talent show, it changes my life.”

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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