We’re excited to announce the MHDS TNCO Awards of Excellence recipients and exceptional nominees!
Tennessee Community Organizations (TNCO) is a statewide trade association for service provider organizations that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee.
Each year, TNCO holds an awards ceremony to recognize achievements and accomplishments of service organizations, their employees and volunteers, and their service recipients.
This year, two of MHDS’s service recipients, Jerry Ray and Rebecca Gunn, received the Award of Excellence. Jerry Ray and Rebecca are siblings who lived for many years in a nursing home and did not participate in making decisions about their lives. They did not even leave the nursing home for many years. After making the transition to living into a supported living home supervised by MHDS, they have made huge strides in gaining independence, participating in making decisions about their lives, learning to enjoy social activities and even finding fulfillment in work through the Day Services program at MHDS.
We are also proud to announce that Jimmy Duke, Board President for MHDS, received the Community Leader Award this year as well! Jimmy has long been an advocate of services for individuals with disabilities and has been a strong community leader for his entire life in Jackson, TN. He has been the Board President since 2007 and helped MHDS to increase the number of individuals served by 8% and grow the number of persons employed by 9%. William D. Brewer, Jr., Executive Director of MHDS, shares “Jimmy is a man of his word. If he says he’ll do something, you can trust that it will be done to the best of his abilities. He’s a champion for those with disabilities and has my utmost respect.”
And since September is Direct Service Provider month, we’d also like to recognize our Direct Service Providers who were nominated for a TNCO award by other staff members at MHDS.
“Mark” Clark has been employed by MHDS for over 7 years. The individuals he supports enjoy spending time with him because he so sincerely cares about them and making sure they are able to enjoy their lives to the fullest. He makes the persons he supports feel comfortable and cared for. His long tenure in a position that is known for higher rates of turnover, and the fact that the persons he supports talk so highly about him say a lot about his character, his respect for people of all abilities, and his dedication to making a positive impact on this world.
Martha Jimmerson has been employed by MHDS since 2004, but has worked in the capacity of serving individuals with mental illness and intellectual disabilities for many more years before her tenure at MHDS. She has a natural ability to teach. She is always willing to break down any task to the degree where a person can understand each part, and then she has the strength and patience to step back and allow a person to find success with that task. She makes people feel important and necessary, which increases the level of dignity that a person has. She is firm when she needs to be in order to draw potential out of someone, but gentle and patient when allowing them to display a bit more independence in learning that task.
Jean Kim has been employed by MHDS since 1994 and has transitioned through positions at MHDS that give her a unique edge within the organization. First of all, she has been there for so long that she knows the history, likes, dislikes, fears, and preferences of many of the individuals who have been served by MHDS for many years. She always offers advice on how to help other service providers mitigate or prevent challenging situations because she has always paid such close attention to the individuals served and cares so much about their comfort and happiness. She is also excellent at organization and helps staff members in all areas of the organization when they’re trying to improve a process or organize a physical area. Her big heart and willingness to incorporate her job into her whole life makes her someone who many people admire and aspire to be like.