We are rooting for Rising Star Award Finalist, Brace Gotshalk. And for ARRM Cares Award Finalists, Ruth Bingham and Annette Ripley. Here are shortened versions of the nominations that were submitted for each finalist. Nominations emphasize three categories—professional integrity, networking supports, and creative, innovative, person-centered approaches to services.
One of Brace’s outstanding qualities is his immense level of patience with the people we support. He listens to them, always puts them first and always does what is best for them. He is also patient with staff and helps them learn their jobs both by being a great role model and by taking the time to make sure they have learned what they need to know before moving on to the next subject. Brace involves the people we support in meal planning, empowering them to say what they like and helping them to make the meal they want. Recently, everyone in the house moved to a new location. During the process, Brace listened to the people’s concerns, talking with them, reassuring them and bringing them to visit the new home, assisted them to pick out their rooms, pick out colors for their room and making the move the least traumatic as possible. Brace has taken the time to develop strong relationships with the families of the people we support and is always welcoming to visitors who come in person to the house, and he helps set up Zoom meetings for one of the people to talk with his brother who lives out of state. Brace is collaborative and open to new ideas. He brings such a kind heart and makes such a difference in the lives of the people he supports.
Ruth has worked as a 1:1 Individual Home Support DSP with Living Well for almost 10 years, and she is fantastic! She is patient, creative and kind. Ruth is a teacher at heart. Encouraging the people she supports to master skills and become as independent as possible is her top priority. Ruth has worked with many people in the Living Well’s Customized Service department, and she is one of a kind. She has a true passion for the people she works with. They look forward to spending time with Ruth. Families adore her and Living Well is definitely lucky to have her as a DSP. She amazes us and parents with her abilities to get people involved with community clubs, projects and volunteer opportunities. From Feed My Starving Children to The Wildlife Reserve, to storytelling with Toastmasters, making craft Monarch Butterflies to hang at the Mall of America, to shelving books at the local library, Ruth’s ideas for fun and involvement never cease to amaze! Ruth loves to find engaging activities for people. She’s creative, mindful, and positive in all her experiences with people. She brings joy to everyone she works with!
How can I help? This is Annette’s motto. Annette recently assisted one of the people we serve with cataract surgery. Each eye required six appointments, so 12 appointments in total. Many of these fell outside of her regular work time, but that didn’t matter to Annette. She accompanied her on all but one of those appointments, coordinated her medication, and took her out for coffee or lunch after many of them. One of the surgeries was scheduled for the morning we were expecting a huge snow storm. We contacted the surgery center and were told that the surgery would still take place, ‘unless the roof was covered with snow.’ Annette offered to stay at the house overnight to make sure she was able to get to the appointment on time. She was prepared to drive her truck in case there was too much snow. Annette has taken several people on the annual snow sledding trip to Camp Menogyn. This trip is lovely, but rustic for the best of us. She coordinates it all—from making sure that people have all the snow gear they need, that their medication is packed, and any adaptive equipment is ready. She loads people into the van with confidence, and heads for the great North. It is exhausting, but she recognizes what a huge benefit it has for the person she supports. Annette is creative and always tries to make people feel seen and heard.
More about ARRM
ARRM is a nonprofit association of nearly 200 provider organizations, businesses and advocates dedicated to leading the advancement of home and community-based services supporting people living with disabilities in their pursuit of meaningful lives. Founded in 1970, ARRM continues to lead advocacy and training for positive industry reforms that support Minnesotans with disabilities.
The ARRM Cares Awards were established to recognize professionals from ARRM members who provide direct care and demonstrate a commitment to quality services. ARRM supports and encourages their members to acknowledge their employees’ dedication and service through this award process. Six winners are selected each year who represent outstanding and extraordinary dedication, innovation, and skill. Finalists will be recognized on stage at the ARRM Forward Annual Conference on July 26. Winners will be announced in September and will receive a $1,000 award and be celebrated in a special ceremony.
Best of luck to all the finalists, and a HUGE thank you to everyone who has ever worked in direct care! The work you do has a real-life impact on the quality of life for the people served, and you truly help people with disabilities live richer, fuller lives!
Make a career out of caring, like Brace, Ruth and Annette and apply today!