MOUNT VERNON — One day set aside to recognize the service of the many employees at the Mount Vernon Developmental Center was observed Wednesday afternoon in the 31st annual awards ceremony. Following an invocation given by Dale Anthony, superintendent Ernie Fischer welcomed the crowd who had gathered. Of the 44 individuals being honored this year, they had collectively given 645.32 years of service to MVDC and/or the state of Ohio.
“The staff that has served here in the past, and continues to do so here today, is what makes this facility special,” said Fischer. “Your compassion, commitment, professionalism and dedication make significant differences in the lives of people you are serving. We appreciate all you do to help make the Mount Vernon Developmental Center a great, great facility.”
Special guest speaker for the ceremony was Matt Starr, former employee of MVDC and now owner of I-Conn Video Productions. “Yes, there is life after MVDC. And there are so many things that have transformed from what I learned here as a caregiver,” Starr told the group of MVDC employees. “Life after caregiving is more caregiving. It’s more service. It doesn’t stop.”
He acknowledged the many caregivers who have gone on to volunteer upon their retirement at MVDC. “I see retirees from here volunteering at their churches, helping out with Hospice, helping out at the animal shelter, Chamber events, Interchurch and The Salvation Army. It is in our blood to continue to serve other people. Caregiving is probably the noblest profession in the world. There is something about serving other people that makes it a noble profession.”
Starr referred to the awards the employees were receiving as milestones and victories. “These milestones are victories ... victories for the people in this facility, victories for your families, victories for your workers, and they are victories for this community.” In encouraging everyone to continue being of service, “I may not be here, but I’m not done working,” said Starr. “People count on you and others. And I’m going to show up and make a difference in people’s lives. It may be just one day. Make those dates count.”
Awards were then presented for those who have completed five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 30-plus years of service. They are as follow:
Five years — Lacy Chadwick, Janet Beeman, Leslie McCann, Brandi Moody, Gregory Kunkler, Michelle Bruff, Kristopher Sizemore, Peggy McFarland, Angela Cunningham, Jessica Parker, Jackie Grohe and Deb Rummel.
Ten years — Lonnie Totten, Jennifer Debolt, Marilyn Moore, Thomas Mickley, Misty Reed, Melissa Vernon and Adam Brannon.
Fifteen years — Valerie Ferrell, Carolyn Cockrell, Brenda Gibbs, Jamie Pahl, Caroline Smithhisler, Kathy Boroff, Gail Scott, Jennifer Buhn, Lynn McFadden, Ronny Wolford, Amy Jones, Dena Beheler, Patricia Smith and Caroline Smithhisler.
Twenty years — Arlene Bowen.
Twenty-five years — Jeffrey Ike, Jane Roskowski, Lisa Carpenter, Phyllis Rettig, Lloyd Champion and Jeffrey Smith.
Thirty years — Christine James, Barbara Nutter and Susan Rose.
Thirty-plus years — Geneen Schonauer.
Recognized as achieving perfect attendance for consecutive years with the Shining Star Award were Arlene Bowen, Hazel Durst, Dawn McCament and Cheryl Villa, one year; Lori Clapper and Wendy Varner, two years; Ed Hershey and Dave Stickle, three years; Carolyn Boroff, Janet Ickes and Noel Kauffman, four years; and Rebecca Loney, five years.
The final honors on the day were for those who were receiving the Special Recognition Award. This is for those who were nominated by a fellow employee for their teamwork, creativity, rapport with fellow workers, leadership, concern for those who live at MVDC and/or exceptional work performance. Receiving this honor were Lisa Carpenter, Jennifer Facemyer, Phyliss Shira, Linda Potes, Bonnie Coventry, Deb Marabito and Penny Hartley.