5 honored with ‘Golden Leaf’ by Developmental Disabilities of Clark County

Developmental Disabilities of Clark County awarded five people with a new award designed to show appreciation for their hard work in helping or embracing the agency’s mission this week.

Handing out a Golden Leaf award is just a small way of saying thank you to members of the Clark County community who help people with disabilities, Developmental Disabilities of Clark County Superintendent Jennifer Miller said.

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“Much of the work we do is silent and seamless and quiet,” Miller said. “Many community partners do things for us because it’s the right thing to do and it’s important for us to say thank you.”

The winners of the awards were Jackie Lanum, Ebony Whitesell, Rotary of Springfield, Yamada North American Inc. and Mary Brandstetter.

The Rotary won the Rosemary Paxson Award, which honors a group dedicated to providing services to people with disabilities.

“The Springfield Rotary Club has worked to support children with disabilities since the early 1900s,” according to the event program. “The work and dedication of the Springfield Rotary Club, and their primary ambassador, Bonita Heeg, have made a lasting impact on the entire community.”

Whitesell won the Donnis Bailey Self-Advocacy Award because she is a member of the Self-Advocacy for You (SAY) group.

“Ebony has volunteered at Culture Fest, Summer Arts Festival and Peace Camp,” the program says. “Ebony volunteers because she cares about her community. Ebony does not seek recognition for anything she does and puts a smile on everyone she meets.”

Lanum won for her hard work to help an individual with a disability.

“Jackie Lanum has worked with the same lady for over 10 years,” her bio says. “She has encouraged her to be involved in the community, to be productive through work each day and to give back to the community.”

Yamda North American Inc. won the Champion City Employer of the Year Award because they offer jobs and internships to people with disabilities in Clark County, the program says.

Brandstetter was recognized because she had dedicated 42 years to helping people with disabilities.

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“Mary’s passion for people with disabilities began in 1977 at Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries in Cincinnati, but found a home one year later with Developmental Disabilities of Clark County. There, she held a number of positions,” according to the program.

Miller said everyone her agency serves has something to offer the community and employers need to be sure to see the person and not their disability.

“Many times individuals with disabilities are looked at like their disability comes first,” Miller said, “But, fortunately, that is not true and they should be viewed for their gifts and their skills and their talents because every person has abilities and our job is to match them with employers that can utilize their skills.”

This was the first year of the Golden Leaf awards and Miller said she hopes the event grows next year.

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