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Coshocton County Board of DD announces 2021 award winners

| March 10, 2021

A Dedication Award was presented to Bob Chaney of Hopewell Industries/Fuse Network. He is pictured with Rob Jones. (Submitted)

The 2021 recipient of the Individual Spotlight Award is Dylan Dobson. (Submitted)

In 2011, Coshocton County Board of Developmental Disabilities’, Steve Oster, started an awards program to honor those in the community to help, support and serve those with disabilities in Coshocton.

“It is important to recognize people who go above and beyond to make an impact on the field of disabilities. It also helps to spotlight disability awareness month,” said Oster. The board also holds an essay and coloring contest for students in March.

There are five categories of winners and each person or group is nominated by community members or families they work with. The categories are Community Partner, Dedication, Employer, Individual and Local Hero.

The Community Partner Award recognizes a person or organization that works hard to create an inclusive environment in which everyone can live, work and grow. The 2021 winner of the Community Partner Award goes to Rose of Sharon.

When the pandemic started, masks could not be found and Rose of Sharon came to the aid of Coshocton County. They organized seamstresses to create masks for nearly every essential business in Coshocton, including the CCBDD, CRMC and first responders. More than 200 masks were made for provider agencies, direct support professionals and CCBDD staff.

They had to be creative because the supplies needed to make the masks were often difficult to find. “At one point, they were contacted early in the morning for a particular agency and within hours had enough masks for each of the staff. It was a scary time for our providers as there was very little available to protect them and those they support from the virus. Rose of Sharon answered the call and was a huge support to our providers and many other essential workers in Coshocton County,” said CCBDD.

The Dedication Award is given to a person or group of people who are extraordinary in giving their time, both paid and unpaid, to support individuals with a developmental disability. The winners of this award show a passion for making positive changes in lives and for supporting independence in individual’s lives. For 2021, there were many nominations and two individuals were chosen.

The first Dedication Award goes to Bob Chaney of Hopewell Industries/Fuse Network. For more than 30 years, Chaney has been a constant source of love, respect, laughter and fun for those individuals he works with. He takes individuals fishing or for walks on his own time and allows each individual to explore anything they would like to try.

The biggest reason Chaney was selected for this award can be summed up by Rob Jones, a young man with autism who spends time with him. Jones doesn’t communicate often, but when asked about Chaney, he says, “Bob is my friend.” This tells his family how very much he loves Chaney and knows Chaney loves him.

Lesha Woodruff has been selected to receive the second Dedication Award. Woodruff is an independent provider and friend. Because of her patience, the individual she works with has come to understand this difficult time will get better. She has done a wonderful job helping him to understand the pandemic and how to stay safe. He misses her on the weekends and loves when he gets to spend time with her. Their relationship is amazing to witness.

Pearl Valley Cheese is the winner of the 2021 Employer Award. This award is given to a business that works with a person with a disability and goes beyond expectations to help the employee be successful and thrive in the workplace. The culture of the workplace is open, inclusive and creative.

Pearl Valley Cheese has employed a local young man with a disability since 2012. They not only value his hard work ethic, but also appreciate his likable and fun personality. When COVID hit, Pearl Valley Cheese deemed this young man essential and found creative ways to keep him employed by taking needed supplies to his home where he was able to complete specific tasks in a safe manner.

In 2020, Pearl Valley Cheese also hired a second individual with a disability. His talents were quickly noticed, and they offered him full time employment. Because this young man was hired with employment supports and through his family’s help, Pearl Valley may not have even realized he receives support through CCBDD. They told his mom, “God led him there to work.” Pearl Valley Cheese doesn’t see disabilities, they see abilities.

The Individual Spotlight Award goes to a person with a developmental disability that overcomes adversity to go beyond their goals. The person who receives this award has a desire to be more independent and wants to make a difference in their own life and the lives of others.

The 2021 recipient of the Individual Spotlight Award is Dylan Dobson.  Dobson has epilepsy, asthma and autism and he missed many days of school because of hospital stays. He has also had to deal with bullying by classmates. He spent days crying and wanting to be like everyone else. But he is strong, capable and continued going to school and striving to always do his best.

Now, he is in 10th grade at River View High School and is succeeding at every level. When someone bullies him now, he says it is their loss and moves on. He is in choir and enjoys Special Olympics. The confidence he gained competing allowed him to try something new. He now works at Burger King and loves working and earning a paycheck. He wants to study Marine Biology in Florida after graduation.

The Local Hero Award recognizes a person in the community whose nature is to give without expecting anything in return. This person is a visionary and promotes healthy ideas, and offers support and guidance to create improvements in the lives of people with disabilities. Several awards were given in this category in 2021.

The first recipient of the Local Hero Award is Lisa Garrett. She works in the guidance office at Coshocton High School. While she never planned to become a guardian of a child with a disability, she didn’t hesitate to take a student home when she was told he would be sent to an out of state foster home, if a home wasn’t found that day. She was awarded permanent custody.

Garrett has truly made this young man part of her family and has helped him get the medical care he needed but was unable to receive. The young man faced open heart surgery in January and is now healthy and involved in school activities. He also has a smile on his face.

The other recipients of the Local Hero Award are the Coshocton County Commissioners, Coshocton County and City Health Departments, Coshocton County EMA, Coshocton County EMS and Coshocton Regional Medical Center. They have worked diligently with the CCBDD since the pandemic started, offering education, testing and vaccines to providers and individuals. They have been willing to work weekends and holidays to ensure our community was safe. In a pandemic, it takes an entire team to be successful in keeping everyone safe.

Category: People & Places

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