Posted on November 9, 2023
On November 16th, we’ll be honoring 92 Penn-Mar team members, representing 821 years of service, at our Service Awards Banquet at Piney Branch Golf Course in Hampstead, MD.
Both numbers are as staggering as they are gratifying, and it will be my pleasure to celebrate the longevity of this impressive team and the amazing accomplishments each of those years represents.
I remember vividly presenting a watch to our very first 5-Year Service Award winner and handing out no more than 20 awards that evening. This year we will be honoring service milestones from 3 to 35 years!
All of these honorees understand that what they do on a day-to-day basis is directly related to our mission to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in living courageous lives.
They represent a wonderful cross-section of team members throughout our program departments and locations — from accounting to HR, to our DSP staff and program managers — which really speaks to the quality of the Penn-Mar team as a whole.
I often write about the essential services provided by our DSPs and they would be the first to tell you that so much of their success is dependent on the efforts and synergy of the many varied disciplines in our organization.
Many of you have heard me say that at Penn-Mar we don’t hire for function; we hire for mission. Given their extraordinary years of service, it’s clear that every one of our honorees accepts and embraces that philosophy.
I can assure you that each honoree has a story to tell about the people they have supported over the years and the many reasons why they continue to devote their time and talent to Penn-Mar’s mission.
In fact, entire books could be written on how the collective efforts of this year’s Award honorees has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, including their own.
I wish I had the space to do a shoutout to all of this years’ Service Award winners, but I do want to take time to acknowledge the 8 recipients who have been with us from 25-35 years.
It hardly seems possible that I will be one of those in the 35-year category alongside Westminster Support Team Managers Kristeen Froehlich and Teresa O’Brien.
I have known both Kris and Teresa for many years, even before they became team members. Both women are exceptional advocates and true leaders for those we support. They have spent their entire careers making the world a better place. I have especially appreciated their incredible efforts in making Penn-Mar better when they joined our organization as part of the merger with Change Inc.
Our two 30-year team members include Kevin Walker, Business Development Director, who now works full-time with our Consulting Group, and Chief Operating Officer, Jackie Stevens.
Kevin’s evolving roles with us have made him a true Subject Matter Expert who has helped transform our organization over the years. Kevin’s willingness to learn and his flexibility is always accompanied by a great attitude. Jackie is a truly remarkable individual who runs our operations seamlessly and has served as my right hand for some 20+ years. Jackie is a transformational leader who has been essential in developing many of our key team members.
I’m a huge fan of our 25-year honorees, DSPs Rhoda Mullen and Michael Riedel, and Administrative Assistant Doris Lowe, whose work I have admired from near and far for many years. These professionals have always understood the true mission of Penn-Mar.
It seems entirely appropriate that we will be gathering with our team to recognize these 92 individuals just one week before the Thanksgiving holiday.
It is a great opportunity for us to publicly express our appreciation to them for so many years of commitment to our mission and to showcase the contributions each has made in their own way, in their own areas of expertise, to the people with disabilities who Penn-Mar supports.
My thanks to each of you today, and every day, for all you do to ensure our organization’s continued success. Looking forward to seeing you on the 16th!