More than 170 people were recognized for their years of dedicated service to improving the lives of people with disabilities when The Resource Center held its 29th annual Employee Service Recognition Luncheon.
The event, held Jan. 20, honored employees who, during 2013, reached milestone years of service with The Resource Center.
The longest-serving employees recognized at this year's event were Gary Melquist of Lakewood and Elizabeth Rothwell of Fredonia, who have been with the agency for 40 years - in fact, they started working the same day.
Posing together are 30-year employees, from left, sitting, Cynthia Sperry, Lori Newman and Deborah Rapp and standing, Jennifer Frederick, John DePane and Sherwood Durnell.
40-year employee Elizabeth Rothwell (center) is pictured with Dr. Todd Jacobson (left) and Paul Cesana.
Pictured from left are 35-year employees Carol Peterson, Karl Erb and Mark Morton.
After obtaining his business degree, Melquist applied for a job at an accounting firm. The interviewer told Melquist to acquire some real-world experience and suggested he apply at TRC. He did, and he's been with the agency ever since. Melquist began as a bookkeeper, and in 1982 became a material handling supervisor. In 1989, he became a buyer (now known as purchasing agent), the position he continues to hold.
Rothwell wasn't looking for a career when she came to TRC. Her neighbors were volunteers at the agency, and she occasionally would help out. One day Mary Andrews, the manager of the Dunkirk Work Center at the time, asked Ms. Rothwell if she would be interested in working there. She said "OK," and has been there ever since. She is an industrial specialist at TRC's Mary Andrews Center on East Chestnut Street.
Three employees completed 35 years of employment with TRC in 2013: Karl Erb of Mayville, activity leader in the day services program; Mark Morton of Jamestown, director of service development and special projects; and Carol Peterson of Jamestown, central intake counselor.
Honored for 30 years of service with TRC were Linda Braun of Jamestown, supervising nurse; John DePane of Jamestown, staff development specialist; Sherwood Durnell of Lakewood, supervising nurse; Jennifer Frederick of Jamestown, residence manager; Lori Newman of Mayville, assistant director of day services; Deborah Rapp of Jamestown, day services supervisor; and Cynthia Sperry of Jamestown, nursing office assistant.
Employees recognized for being with the agency for 25 years were Paul Cesana of Irving, executive director; Dr. Robert Ellis of Stockton, senior psychologist; Rebecca Mirek of Dunkirk, day services supervisor; George Mitchell Jr. of Jamestown, maintenance helper; and Karen Moynihan of Ashville, transportation manager.
Those completing 20 years of employment were Faith Baker of Jamestown, employment services administrator; William Barber Jr. of Jamestown, direct support professional (DSP); Roselle Cash of Brocton, activity leader; Pamela Cranston of Westfield, dental assistant/site manager; Lisa Destro of Hamburg, DSP; Debra Hall of Jamestown, DSP; Carolyn Hebner of Sinclairville, administrative secretary; Anne Hedin of Jamestown, audiologist; Bruce Main of Jamestown, special projects coordinator; Patricia Marks of Ashville, community living skills instructor; Cynthia Neu of Jamestown, mobility coordinator; Philip Opeil of Forestville, production maintenance technician; Brenda Pattison of Ashville, secretary; Dr. Anne Shear of Jamestown, dentist; Barry Simmons Jr. of Jamestown, mechanic; Philip Thomas of Jamestown, residential site supervisor; Suzanne Tracy of Sinclairville, day services supervisor; Donald Traynor of Bemus Point, staff development specialist; Steven Waterson of Jamestown, community relations director; and Kristen Wilson of Jamestown, activity leader.
Recognized for 15 years of service were Kristen Anson of Dunkirk, activity leader; Shawn Avery, Jamestown, supported living specialist (SLS); Lela Berry, Panama, residence coordinator (RC); Melinda Block, Fredonia, service coordinator; Theresa Caldwell, Jamestown, habilitation specialist; Frances Carlson, Mayville, secretary; Cheryl Faust, Frewsburg, patient registrar; Leslie Fickling, Celoron, family care/self-advocacy coordinator; Katrina Gibson, Jamestown, DSP; Wendy Giunta, Jamestown, RC; Odessa Goodlow, Jamestown, DSP; Ke-Khee Greenough, Silver Creek, mental health clinician; Beverly Heglund, Jamestown, SLS; Linda Miceli, Jamestown, DSP; Amy Pease, Cherry Creek, clinic business coordinator; Mary Peters, Jamestown, residence manager; Robert Sherbine, Jamestown, activity leader; Jessica Smith, Jamestown, quality management specialist; Jill Suter, Jamestown, day services supervisor; Norma Swanson, Ashville, clerk; Mary Thomas, Jamestown, job coach; and Karen York, Jamestown, DSP.
Honored for 10 years of service were Sondra Apperson, Jamestown, DSP; Beverly Arvidson, Bemus Point, nurse manager; Joanne Bevan, Erie, director of residential services; Debra Boardman, Jamestown, DSP; Aleshia Brewer, Ashville, speech pathologist; Christine Burger, Jamestown, behavior support professional (BSP); Jennifer Clark, Dunkirk, DSP; Angela Dalrymple, Falconer, DSP; Jennifer Dawson, Jamestown, residence manager (RM); Tamara DeLong, Jamestown, DSP; Matthew Duncanson, Jamestown, DSP; Debbie Flasher, Jamestown, supervising nurse; Connie George, Jamestown, DSP; Ernest Green Jr., Celoron, licensed practical nurse (LPN); Rebecca Greenman, Bemus Point, DSP; Rebekah Hamilton, Jamestown, DSP; Troy Hicks, Falconer, housekeeper; Christopher Howard, Frewsburg, DSP; Dr. Todd Jacobson, Jamestown, board of directors president; Robert Kenny, Forestville, courier; Harriett Lank, Celoron, industrial specialist; Karen La Sota, Frewsburg, resource development, research and grants coordinator; Lynn Ling, Lakewood, DSP; Pamela Luczkowiak, Dunkirk, activity leader; Erin Lutgen, Jamestown, community living skills instructor (CLSI); Thomas Mabes, Stockton, maintenance specialist; Maria Martinez, Jamestown, housekeeper; Wendy Mathews, Dunkirk, job developer; Pennifer McCartney, Mayville, SLS; Lisa Melquist, Jamestown, human resources specialist; Kenneth Moldenhauer, Fredonia, systems administrator; Alberta Monagle, Jamestown, DSP; Gloria Murphy, Jamestown, DSP; Brandey Oakes, Lakewood, fiscal services supervisor; Vincent Parasiliti, Jamestown, BSP; Jennifer Peters, Jamestown, vocational skills instructor; Lisa Peterson, Falconer, assistant RM; Sara Rafaloski, Findley Lake, BSP; Vincent Ricotta, Dunkirk, maintenance specialist; Elizabeth Sandberg, Lakewood, driver; Tammy Sawyer, Cherry Creek, DSP; Kimberly Scoma, Jamestown, individualized services supervisor; Mary Shelley, Jamestown, human resources administrator; Troy Simmons, Kennedy, job coach; Elizabeth Slagle, Jamestown, accounts receivable (A/R) clerk; Karen Smith, Sheridan, DSP; William Snyder, Jamestown, CLSI; Jaimee Spell, Fredonia, client coordinator; Belinda Swanson, Jamestown, LPN; Julie Swanson, Lakewood, internal audit assistant; Tina Uber, Jamestown, DSP; Julie Vogan, Jamestown, RC; Brett Waite, Randolph, program manager; and Michelle Wood, Jamestown, human resources specialist.
Completing five years of service in 2013 were Dustin Allen of Jamestown, DSP; Christopher Batista, Dunkirk, driver; Dennis Becker, Frewsburg, driver; Veronica Bender, Forestville, production trainer; Sandra Biggers, Cassadaga, office assistant; Tanya Brightman, Jamestown, medical aide; Douglas Card, Erie, DSP; Mat Cardinale, Jamestown, DSP; Bonnie Clark, Jamestown, LPN; Christopher Clark, Jamestown, medication technician; Katie Cleland, Jamestown, DSP; April Crawford, Jamestown, assistant site supervisor; Nicholas Cultrara, Frewsburg, habilitation specialist; Rita Cybulski, Jamestown, DSP; Letisha Echevarria, Silver Creek, Therap admisistrator; Stacy Harrington, Mayville, RC; Shan-Ti-Ka Jessie, Dunkirk, DSP; Shawn Johnson, Jamestown, DSP; Patrick Kennedy, board member; Debra Larsen, Celoron, supervising nurse; Kristy Lauer, Perrysburg, program manager; Matthew Lewis, Jamestown, BSP; Tammy Mancuso, Jamestown, cook; Julia McFarland, Dunkirk, production trainer; Kristen McNitt, Frewsburg, art teacher; Danny Mealy Sr., Jamestown, production supervisor; Rondy Miller, Jamestown, behavior technician; Dr. Adnan Munir, Lakewood, physician; Rosemary Nadeau, Jamestown, RM; Kay Nary, Frewsburg, executive administrative assistant; Elizabeth Nuhfer, Irvine, DSP; Cherie Ohls, Falconer, nurse manager; Kelly Patterson, Jamestown, DSP; Christina Rasmussen, Jamestown, medical support professional (MSP); Allicia Rice, Jamestown, DSP; Joan Santalucia, Fredonia, job coach; Noelle Saulter, Jamestown, RM; Laura Seiberg, Bemus Point, nurse manager; Cassandra Simmons, Kennedy, assistant RM; Haeden Smith, Ashville, MSP trainee; Tabatha Stenstrom, Jamestown, SLS; Julie Stronz, Jamestown, service coordinator; LeeAnn Sunderlin, Jamestown, DSP; Gwen Syper, Jamestown, accounts payable clerk; Christopher Troutman, Jamestown, DSP; Connie Truax, Sinclairville, cook; Lori Utegg, Warren, A/R clerk; Rita Varney-Smith, South Dayton, case manager; Andrea Vullo, Frewsburg, bookkeeper; Brittany Wallace, Kennedy, DSP; David Wawrzyniak, Jamestown, DSP; Jon Weekly, Fredonia, client coordinator; Tammy Whippo, Frewsburg, health assistant; Vicky Whitford, Youngsville, A/R clerk; Tabitha Whitmore, Jamestown, secretary; Shelly Williamson, Fredonia, DSP; Philip Wright, Ashville, behavior technician; Danyele Wynn, Jamestown, DSP; and Diane Ziebart, Ellington, DSP.
Employees were called forward one at a time to be thanked individually for their years of dedicated service. Staff with 20 or more years at The Resource Center received a gift card and a jeweled lapel pin in the shape of TRC's triangle logo. Employees with 15 years of service received a desk clock and a lapel pin; 10-year staff members were given a necklace or a keychain; and five-year employees received a lapel pin.
The event was held in TRC's Conference Center on Dunham Avenue in Celoron. Nickey Riczker, director of human resources, was the mistress of ceremonies. For each group of employees who had reached a five-year milestone, she shared political, entertainment and sports trivia from the year in which those employees had been hired. For employees serving 25 years or more, she shared some biographical information.
The invocation was given by the Reverend Timothy Hoyer, who is a TRC advisory committee member. He cited a report that indicated the world's 85 richest people have more money than the 3.5 billion poorest people and then, referencing the funding cuts TRC has endured in recent years, added, "And you wonder why you can't fund The Resource Center." Pointing to Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to cut New York state's business income tax, Rev. Hoyer suggested people contact the governor and tell him to keep the business income tax at its current level and use the revenues to fund services for people with disabilities.
Calling attention to all of The Resource Center's employees, he urged those in attendance to invoke the spirits of kindness, compassion, teamwork and patience; traits that are exhibited every day by TRC's staff.
Remarks also were made by Executive Director Paul Cesana and Dr. Todd Jacobson, board president.
"This is one of those most important times that we stop and appreciate what all of you, what each of you, does each and every day," Cesana said. "We work together, day in and day out, to make a difference in people's lives." He added that for "literally thousands of people" who are supported by TRC, "their lives are changed because of you."
Jacobson said that the Employee Service Recognition Luncheon is an opportunity to honor "people who have stayed and grown with the organization." Noting that the past three years have been difficult financially for The Resource Center in the face of funding cuts and changes in the service delivery system imposed by New York state, he said that TRC has relied on its long-term staff to get through the trying times and keep the agency strong.
"We count on our seasoned and loyal employees to hold things together and train the new employees," Jacobson said.
The Resource Center has been supporting Chautauqua County residents with disabilities, and their families, since 1959. The agency also offers a variety of health-related services that are available to anyone in the community; these services include primary care, dental care, counseling and psychiatric services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, audiology and podiatry. For more information about The Resource Center, call 483-2344 or visit the website, www.resourcecenter.org.