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Recognizing Our ARRM Cares Award Nominees

Learn more about who was nominated this year for this year's award!

Let's continue this wonderful DSP Week by recognizing several direct care staff who stood out this year—those we nominated for the ARRM Cares Award, a special recognition award from our trade association! 

The ARRM Cares Award was established by our local trade association, ARRM, to recognize professionals in the disability community who provide excellent direct care and demonstrate a commitment to quality services. Learn more about our 2023 nominees below. This is just a snippet of their nominations. To read their full nominations, click on their name below.

George Winston – Carver House 

Years of Service: 6

"George is a rap artist whose song titles illustrate his approach to supporting individuals with disabilities: Passion, Limitless, Daydream, Survive, All Love... Immediately after meeting George, you see beyond his stoic exterior to find a person who is so compassionate, creative, and accepting of others.

George supports individuals with Autism. Consistency and familiarity are keys to their success. George is like that favorite sweater - that comfort and contentment that keeps things familiar and happy.

George is not one to pass judgment. All he sees are opportunities for everyone he supports! On many occasions, George sat with "L" for extended periods of time encouraging her to feed herself, even when she was ready to quit. Additionally, George has helped an individual display more adaptive behavior. "A" tends to greet individuals by pushing the boundaries of personal space, potentially putting himself at risk. George consistently teaches him more socially acceptable greetings.

George loves to dream. If there’s a new craft idea or menu item, he's going to DIY it! Last fall, he orchestrated an amazing display of Halloween pumpkins that were original works of art for each individual in the home. He captured their unique interests in every pumpkin."

Nakia Hammond – Newport House 

Years of Service: 15

"Encouraging. Advocate. Supportive. Friend. Calming. Welcoming. These are just a few of the words to describe the incredible gift Nakia Hammond is to us and the people we support.

Nakia supports everyone’s relationships, but several recent examples illustrate her compassion in this area. W's mother passed away years ago, but Nakia continues helping W purchase flowers to bring to the cemetery where her mother is buried. Given that W lived with her mother for years, maintaining this memory of her mother is extremely important to W.

Nakia also helps another individual maintain his relationship with his mother who lives out of state. "A" loves McDonalds and would share this treat with his mother when she lived in Minnesota. Now, they continue meeting on FaceTime with Nakia’s help. These moments help A see his mom's face, hear her voice, and "share" his McDonalds with her. He can't verbally express his happiness, but it’s noticeable how important these times are—not only to A, but to Mom as well!

Finally, "T" has been through some challenging health issues related to swallowing and potential aspiration—prompting a change in her feeding method. This is life changing for T and has been a difficult decision for her and her mother. Nakia has been in frequent contact with T's mother, our Nursing team, and our dietician. She has provided emotional support throughout this process."

Nick LeBrun – Appointment Coordinator

Years of Service: 1.25

"Nick is the ultimate Activities Coordinator! From the very beginning, he jumped right in and is always willing to help the individuals attend community events – even if it is on a holiday or his day off!

Not only is he facilitating appointments at his designated homes, but he also willingly offers his assistance to other homes needing planned or last-minute appointment coverage. One example that comes to mind is last Easter. He was only 2 months into the position, but he so graciously brought one of our individuals home for Easter when he wasn’t scheduled to work. He then continued to work at the house for the remainder of the evening. It was very evident that this was so important to the individual and her brother, and they were so appreciative!  

Nick helps stressed family members feel calm, and his communication with guardians, parents, and other family members is always courteous and respectful. So many people have commented on how impressed they are with Nick and all the tasks he takes on. He is an absolute joy to be around!"

Shelley Peltier – English House

Years of Service: 32

"This is a LOVE story! But while most love stories have a happy ending, this one is bittersweet. 

Last week, we lost a beloved friend who had lived with us for 29 years and whom Shelley worked with closely. Her passing left a hole in her heart!

Throughout this individual’s cancer journey, Shelley helped her connect to the things she loved.  This woman LOVED everything Christmas! She never wanted to take the Christmas tree down. And so, Shelley made sure it never was! She transformed it into a Valentine tree, adorning it with hearts and all things pink and red. By Easter, the tree was covered in carrots, bunnies, and colorful eggs. And for Cinco De Mayo, red-hot chili pepper lights and small sombreros adorn the tree.

This woman also LOVED Pepsi! Every day, Shelley would remind our Environmental Services Coordinator, Shawn, to bring her a Pepsi. On the rare occasion he forgot, he would run to the store for one. Finally, Shelley decided hiding a case in her office was more convenient for Shawn than going to the store. And to carry on that tradition, Shelley is even coordinating a Pepsi tablecloth to be used at her memorial service!"

Our very own Shelley Peltier was a top 20 finalist, from over 110 submissions! Although we didn’t win the award, their nominations alone illustrate the amazing work they’re doing! Please take the time to thank these individuals—and all our DSPs—for the incredible work they do every day! 

If you’d like to nominate a DSP for the 2024 awards, please contact Jackie Larson at 651-294-7964 or via email at

Congratulations to all our nominees!!