CFI holds annual Awards Banquet

Posted 3/24/23

Employees honored at annual banquet

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CFI holds annual Awards Banquet


The Huron Area Center for Independence held its Awards Banquet March 14 in the Nordby Exhibit Hall with more than 200 people in attendance.

Awards were presented for Excellence in Achievement, Employee of the Year, Employer of the Year, and the Distinguished Service Award for Health Care. In addition, employee anniversary and community employment awards were presented.

• Employer of the Year: Boss Boutique was chosen as the recipient of the Employer of the Year.

The management and employees at Boss Boutique have helped Cassidy fulfill her dream of being in the fashion industry. This business has a wonderful family atmosphere, and whether you are there to shop or to work, you just feel at home when you come into the store. They have a great flexible work schedule and worked well with Cassidy to continue to learn new tasks. This has been a great environment for Cassidy to sharpen her skills as a fashionista and thrive in a fast, changing industry. Most importantly to Cassidy, they valued her fashion advice and allowed her to help with some of the clothing decisions for the manikins on display throughout the store. This business has even had Cassidy model some of the clothing advertising on Social Media.

From left, are Danny Kogel, Cassidy Baszler, Ashley Eichstadt, Jenna Berglund and Brianna Sprecher, who earned the Employer of the Year Award at the CFI annual banquet.

• Distinguished Service for Health Care: Lisa Johnson is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for Health Care. One of the cornerstones to providing quality care to the people CFI supports is good medication practices. Johnson, a pharmacy technician at Lewis Drug, embodies an exemplary example of this. Johnson assists many different environments within the agency by filling new medication orders, helping to clarify any questions, and manages the existing prescriptions for many of the people the Center supports. Johnson is easy to work with, always has a smile on her face, is efficient and expediates in a timely manner. It is apparent that she cares about the people she serves by the way she does her job. CFI is truly lucky to have such a dedicated professional to assist with the important task of proper medication maintenance.

From left, are Judy Klicker, Lisa Johnson who won the Distinguished Service for Health Care, Rita Pollock and Shauna Kemnitz.

• Excellence in Achievement: Peter Fremark was the recipient of the Excellence in Achievement Award. Peter, who lives in Miller, was recently a big help and support after one of his friends had surgery. He learned that she was not able to leave her apartment for a period of time due to an injury. Peter adjusted his routine and went to visit her at her apartment. This was a big change for Peter, and he managed it well. When Peter would go and see her, it helped her calm down because she was visiting with a friend. Peter continues to work three jobs in the community and excels in this area. He enjoys his jobs and rarely misses a day. He often has visits from friends in the apartment building. They like watching Jeopardy or playing Wheel of Fortune. Peter’s apartment is always well kept and an inviting place to hang out. Peter takes great pride in his apartment and keeping it nice and clean. Peter also mows the Blachford House front lawn, making sure it is always mowed and well cared for. Peter is one that also will seek out staff when another person in the Blachford house needs assistance. Peter is very smart, organized, caring, compassionate and hardworking, and the Blachford House would not be the same without him living there.

Peter Fremark, left, accepts the Excellence in Achievement Award from and Shauna Kemnitz.

• Employee of the Year: Jim Nelson was chosen as the recipient of Employee of the Year. Nelson has worked for CFI for the last 15 years. He is always willing to come in for appointments, work extra hours, fill in when needed in other areas, and is always present and a great supporter for the guys at Bragg House. He is such a great asset at Bragg House and always makes sure the guys have what they need, get medical attention for issues right away, and make sure their lives are always full of meaning. Nelson is willing to do anything to help out. He works in different houses throughout the agency and works a variety of hours, based on what the need is at the moment. His knowledge, flexibility, and energy focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities is what makes him stand out and is the reason why he was chosen for this award. Nelson is a solid figure at CFI and when he is absent, which is not very often, he is greatly missed by staff and people supported. Nelson is considerate, thoughtful, and always willing to go the extra mile when needed.

In addition, the Center for Independence recognized employees for 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-years of experience. Eleven employees received a five-year award, three employees received 10-year awards and nine employees received 15-year awards.

Receiving 20-year awards were Mary Berg, Dawn Eden and Nikki Gross. Receiving a 25-year award was Rhonda Tompkins. Shauna Kemnitz, Deb Minske and Richard Paul received 30-year awards for their years of service.   

Community Employment Awards were given out for 1-, 5-, 10-, 15- and 35-Year Awards. Three individuals received one-year awards; two received five-year awards; and four received 10-year awards. Brady Kappler and Kelley Rude received 15-year awards; and James Gose received a 35-year award for employment at the Huron Post Office.