The Davenport-based Handicapped Development Center held their annual Recognition Dinner on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 at the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport. During this event, staff were honored with Excellence Awards and a Gary Ashcraft Memorial Award. 

Criteria for the staff Excellence Awards includes: displaying loyalty and initiative, above average performance on all job duties, excellent attendance and punctuality, promoting teamwork, volunteering at agency events, and maintaining a positive outlook, according to an HDC release.

Megan Dillon, a mentor for the Daily Discovery West program, was an Excellence Award recipient. Dillon began an exercise program for the participants and set a goal to do 1 million squats. After about 18 months of encouragement, the group achieved that goal. She has a great rapport with participants and enjoys encouraging them to experience new things.   

Tanica Ware ensures the participants at the Daily Discovery East program engage in meaningful activities that promote fun and learning. In her role as a mentor. Ware has a busy and varied day, but she approaches her duties with a sense of humor and a great attitude that positively influences others. For these reasons, she was chosen as an Excellence Award recipient.  

Robyn Shaw, Resident Counselor, received the Community Residential Services Excellence Award. For over 5 years, Shaw has worked with a group of folks to help them live in the community, and although she has been assigned to these same individuals since she started, she never hesitates to help out wherever she is needed. She is a reliable team member who has a strong commitment to those she supports. 

Shelley Nordeen received the Group Homes staff Excellence Award. Shelley is a devoted Group Home Manager who works with very little direction and whose primary purpose is always the residents. Despite experiencing some challenges in her position, she maintains a positive attitude that helps provide a peaceful and comfortable home for those with whom she works.   

Tess Haas, Job Coach, manages to juggle the duties of teaching participants work skills with doing all the job coach scheduling. She is well-organized, has excellent attendance, possesses a strong work ethic, and consistently provides assistance to ensure individuals obtain and maintain their employment. 

The Gary Ashcraft Memorial Award is given to a staff person who displays characteristics that made Gary Ashcraft unique. He was a participant at HDC who overcame many challenges and brought joy to many. This year’s award went to Dawn Wilcox, Daily Discovery East Lead Mentor.

Wilcox always performs her job with the HDC mission in mind and is a role model for treating all people with dignity and respect. She is instrumental in making sure participants enjoy their days by planning fun, educational, and engaging activities. 

 Since 1969, HDC has been providing opportunities and assistance to over 350 individuals with disabilities each year. They are assisted to succeed, to achieve, to grow, and to be happy. For more information, visit the HDC website.