Arc recognizes ‘Best Friend,’ other supporters during awards banquet
HOLLEY – The Arc of Orleans County held its annual awards program on Friday and recognized many of the agency’s key supporters, as well as developmentally disabled adults who have excelled in jobs and other roles in the community.
Debbie Heuer received the “Best Friend” award for her volunteer work with the agency for the past three decades. She is a former board president, and has served on numerous committees and efforts, including basket raffles, the golf tournament, 5K race, endowment fund and Signature Series. She also coached a soccer team for people with disabilities.
“Debbie is humble and gives of her time, talents and support to the Arc with no need for accolades,” said John Huber, The Arc board president.
He presented the award to Heuer in front of about 300 people during the 36th annual Best Friend Dinner at Hickory Ridge Golf Course.
Heuer thanked the Arc, especially its many dedicated employees, for serving people with disabilities and their families. Heuer first connected with The Arc in 1988 when her son Tyler received early intervention services from Rainbow Preschool.
“They are kind and generous and underpaid,” Heuer said about The Arc staff. “On behalf of the whole Heuer family, I want to say thank you to The Arc for what you mean to us and all of the support.”
The agency presented several other awards on Friday, including:
Business Partnership Award: DeGeorge Property Group
The Arc of Orleans County celebrated the opening of the “Snack Shack” on Oct. 21 at the Arnold Gregory Memorial Complex at 243 South Main St. The Snack Shack sells baked goods, soda, coffee, ice cream, fruit, candy and breakfast and lunch sandwiches.
Ben DeGeorge of the DeGeorge Property Group was recognized for teaming with The Arc to start a snack shop at the Arnold Gregory Memorial Complex, which is owned by DeGeorge Property. DeGeorge upgraded the site with new plumbing, cosmetics and furniture, while giving lots of encouragement to The Arc in establishing the snack shop on Oct. 21.
Heritage Award: Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning
Bill Hayes, owner of Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning, has been a long-time supporter of The Arc, sponsoring the golf tournament which supports Camp Rainbow. He also has been generous with the annual appeal and other fund-raising efforts.
Hayes lives in Batavia next to developmentally disabled adults. He said they are great neighbors. He also hires a crew through the ARC in Genesee County to clean his business.
“They are honest, they are diligent and they are hard workers,” Hayes said, encouraging other businesses to hire work crews through The Arc.
Community Service Award: John Hald
He also helps at Hospice of Orleans, PAWS Animal Shelter, and also cares for neighbors’ pets if his neighbors are away or ill. He also helps some of his neighbors when they are sick by taking out their trash and visiting them.
Self-Advocate of the Year: Phil Donoghue
Supported Employment Worker of the Year: Mike Grandin
Grandin has worked several jobs since joining The Arc in 2000, including six years with the Associated Brands enclave. He also worked at Fischer’s Newsroom for more than a year, stocking, pricing and cleaning. He started as a cleaner at Snap Fitness in Medina last June. Grandin has excellent work attendance and is a role model to others.
Orleans Enterprises Worker of the Year: Tom Popowych
Popowych has been working at Orleans Enterprises for 20 years, with nearly perfect attendance to the work site on Washington Street in Albion. He has demonstrated a tireless work ethic and keen attention to detail. He displays good manufacturing practices and daily workshop safety, as well as a friendly demeanor.