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2017 DAWG Awards


The local group D.A.W.G. (Disability Awareness Work Group) came together in 2010 to organize the month-long Disability Awareness Month celebration. In conjunction with the Indiana Disabilities Awareness Month theme as determined by the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, members of D.A.W.G. collectively celebrate the month with several different events and activities. This year’s celebration begins with the Mayoral Proclamation and awarding of the Fourth Annual Disability Recognition Awards.

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NOMINEES (* Indicates Winner)

Nominated By: Rachel Sutopo
Robert (BJ) Steadman goes above and beyond as a job coach. Thinking outside the box is second nature to BJ –
he has a way of making both employer and employee see from each other’s perspective. BJ is always there for his clients and their employers. He takes time to evaluate each of his clients to ensure for the best possible job match.

“Due to his insight and positive thinking he has impacted and benefited many workers in finding their perfect fit.”

Nominated By: Jana Mischler
As a collaborative effort between Hamilton Center – Employment Solutions, Union Hospital and Vocational Rehabilitation, Project SEARCH offers a school to work transition program which includes career exploration for
students with disabilities. Project SEARCH staff, Nichelle Washington and Barbara Henderson go above and beyond
to ensure each student succeeds. They give personalized attention to the development of social and vocational skills
needed by each student to be workforce ready. 

“I know my son is going to be fine and I know that his future will have more opportunities because of the kindness, support, teaching and compassion that the staff is giving him.” 

Nominated By: Danny Grissom
Mr. Dave Piper has volunteered with the Wabash Independent Living and Learning Center “Ramps for Freedom” program for the past fi ve years. Not only has he assisted in the construction of more than 50 wheelchair ramps, he has also taken on the role of Team Leader. Dave oversees the construction of the ramps, making sure the ramps meet the needs of the individual as well as ADA guidelines. Mr. Piper personally recruits and trains new

“Dave always has a smile on his face and says helping others is his passion.”

Nominated By: Danny Wayne Beemer
The Vigo County Parks & Recreation Department is committed to developing accessible experiences for
individuals of all abilities. The recent installation of an accessible fi shing dock along with a “Hooked on Ability”
fi shing event at Fowler Park is just one area that VCPRD is reaching out. Park staff are willing to adapt programs to
meet the needs of those they are serving. 

“Offering accessible activities throughout the county parks encourages individuals who are physically and sensory challenged to get out and experience nature.”

Nominated By: Mike Padgett & Kim Knoblock
ISU Facilities and Recycling Center staff, Ken Griffie, Willie Sharp, James Lowe, Dawnar Shivers, Paul Reed and Elizabeth Attebery have gone above and beyond to ensure that employees with developmental disabilities are accepted in the work place. These individuals go out of their way to make sure that their coworkers are treated with respect and dignity. They make it their own personal responsibility to be a friend and
mentor both on the job and off.

“All our clients enjoy the time they get to spend with their friends and coworkers at ISU and always look forward to their next shift.”

Nominated By: Mike Smith
AutoZone Distribution Center is committed to hiring a qualified workforce and through their “People with Abilities” program are eager to hire those with disabilities that have the skills and expertise that are needed in their distribution center in Danville, Illinois. Their commitment is evidenced through the initiative they took to reach out to local agencies in the recruitment of a diverse workforce.

“AutoZone provides reasonable accommodations to employ and engage individuals with disabilities into what may otherwise seem like an unlikely fit.”

Nominated By: Dee Dodd
Danny Wayne is the Program Director of The Will Center’s Older/Blind/Vision Impaired Program. Born with glaucoma
and limited light and color perception, Danny chose not to let his disability defi ne him. Danny educates others on how to remain or become independent. During the past 16 years, he has been instrumental in planning information expos for low vision consumers and has built a system of monthly sight loss groups in five different counties.

“Danny gives hope to people that have lost their vision or have diminished vision.”

Nominated By: Barbara Archer & Heidi Kotva-Strickland
As youth director at Mount Pleasant UMC, Jess Berryhill saw a need for serving individuals with special needs thus, Grace Unlimited Ministry was formed. Providing a time for group activities, crafts, snacks, worship and Bible learning is what Grace Unlimited is all about. Jess directed the play Simply Cinderella which featured members of Grace Unlimited. Ms. Berryhill was responsible for the recent “Night to Shine” prom for individuals with special needs.

“Jess is an amazing woman, who each and every day demonstrates what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus to all she encounters.”

Nominated By: Elaine Koehler, Krita Arrojo, & Treena Huey
Special Education Teacher Mary Beth Dugger goes the extra mile for her students. In her role as English teacher Mary Beth was responsible for developing a writing program using I-Pods and other devices. Students who at one time struggled with writing are now fi nding success. Mrs. Dugger also developed a mentoring program for community members to work with high school students who have orthopedic challenges. Through this mentoring program, students are encouraged to look beyond their disabilities.

“For Mary Beth Dugger, working with people with disabilities is not just a job, it’s a passion!”

Nominated By: Margie Anshutz
Challenged to over-come her addiction, Kimberly Faulds has remained sober for five years. Working with Hamilton
Center’s addictions facility, Kim openly shares her story in hopes to help others who are struggling. Kim’s past is just
that and her future is bright. Kim hopes to someday write a book of inspirational stories based on truths she has acquired on her journey to a better life. 

“Kim has helped give a voice to consumers and lets them know they are not alone in their struggles.”

Nominated By: Patti Weaver
An opportunity for everyone to garden has always been important to Stephanie Krull. As a founding member of the
ISU Community Garden, Stephanie saw the need to make sure the garden was assessable to everyone. Recently raised bed gardening troughs were added to the garden.

“These areas provide folks with a disability to do what others love to do ..get their hands dirty and grow their own produce for a healthy living.”

Congratulations to all of this year's nominees!

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