Three Clara Martin Center employees standing at a podium. One is reading a speech on a piece of paper with a microphone.

Clara Martin Center Hosts 2022 Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony

The 2022 Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony for Clara Martin Center was held on the Vermont Technical College campus on Thursday, November 9th to honor employees for their dedicated years of service and recognize community members and partners who make a difference in the lives of those who receive services from Clara Martin Center. The resilience of individuals that live and work in our local communities was highlighted throughout each recognition.    

Through staff nominations, the Vocational Services Award, the Arnold Spahn Community Service Award,  and the Dr. Brewster Martin Excellence Award are presented annually to honor deserving colleagues and community members for their notable contributions to improving the lives of those we serve. The recipients of these awards embody the Clara Martin Center philosophy of “People Helping People” with their work over the past year.

The 2022 Vocational Service Award was presented to HireAbility in recognition of their work over the last 5 years. Through their collaborative efforts, they have provided employment placement for 73 individuals, and educational placements for 34 individuals served by Clara Martin Center. HireAbility takes individual preferences and needs into account and provides individual services to assist each client with their job goals. Their supports have included assistance obtaining paid work experiences, career training offsets, benefits counseling, vehicle repairs, tuitions, and funding for computers, tools, clothing, and footwear. HireAbility is a true partner in promoting learning and career opportunities and continue to create an environment where individuals are set up for success. The award was presented to Melissa Conly (regional manager) and Christine Pinello (vocational counselor).

(left to right) Christine Pinello and Melissa Conly from HireAbility being presented the Vocational Services Award by Melanie Gidney and Holly Benoir from CMC

The 2022 Arnold Spahn Community Service Award was presented to Wynona Ward and Harold Ward from Have Justice, Will Travel, Inc.  HJWT provides legal and supportive services to battered, low-income women and their children, while also working to break the generational cycle of abuse within rural families by reducing the gaps in resources for victims of domestic abuse. In addition to this, they provide furniture and other items to improve the lives of their clients. They have assisted several Clara Martin Center clients over the years.  They truly go above and beyond to improve the lives of their clients and the community around them.

Melanie Gidney after presenting Wynona and Harold Ward founders of Have Justice, Will Travel, Inc. with the award

The 2022 Dr. Brewster Martin Award is given annually to a Clara Martin Center employee who demonstrates excellence in care provided to individuals and their support to our local communities. This year, the award was presented to Courtney Ness, Child and Family Clinical Case Manager and Transition Age Youth Coordinator. Courtney’s commitment to community mental health Is exemplified through her work with clients, bringing knowledge, resourcefulness, empathy, and compassion to every interaction. She maintains a client-focused environment, focused on their strengths and empowering them to succeed in future endeavors. Courtney is very deserving of this honor and an excellent model of the Clara Martin Center motto “People Helping People”.

Courtney Ness receiving award from Melanie Gidney

Also recognized was a local family for their efforts in supporting, managing, and advocating for a sibling’s ongoing care needs.  

Two recently retired Board Members were recognized for their years of service on the Clara Martin Center Board of Trustees:  Ron Schoolcraft (16 Years) and Marie Robbins (11 Years). 

Staff Longevity Awards: 35 Years:  Robin Wheeler.  30 Years: Melanie Gidney.  25 Years: April Ketchum.  20 Years:  Dr. Kevin Buchanan.  15 Years:  Adam Bindrum.  10 Years:  Seth Berger, Christie Everett, Danielle Ferry, Sean Tangney.  5 Years:  Devon Hannan, Bridget Kendall, Chelsey Perry.  

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