Monday, November 13, 2017

Congratulations on the Helping Hands Award, Katherine Edwards!

Vocational Counselor Katherine Edwards of Hampton Roads recently received the Charles A. Wornom Helping Hands Award at the Hampton Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities Annual Luncheon!

Not only does she deserve this honor, but the way she received it was extra special as well…

Several weeks ago one of Katherine’s clients, a veteran with a disability that had been working with Katherine for over a year, got in touch with Ericka Neville, her supervisor, to divulge her plan of nominating her to receive the award from the Hampton Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities.  She had drafted a nomination letter to the committee and asked Ericka for review. 

She personally empowers me to be as independent as possible even though she continually monitors my needs to understand when I need assistance before I even ask for help.” Her client’s nomination letter reads.  "Her contribution to the needs of our community has been nothing less than amazing….. [and] enhances the lives of so many people in our community through employment training, job coaching community support and independence and thus empowering many to reach their goals and independence. I know, I’m one!” 

Inspired, Ericka wrote a letter of support of her own and conspiring together, came up with a plan to keep it a complete surprise. As a ruse, Ericka asked Katherine to help her “work a booth” for a Veterans Resource Fair the afternoon of the Luncheon.  When the day came, Ericka dropped Katherine's client at the Convention Center 15 minutes early to the start of the luncheon to reserve seats for all three of them. While Ericka walked Katherine into the building, she became very surprised that a luncheon was being held instead of a Veterans Fair and after seeing her client sitting at the table, was filled in about her nomination for the award! There were several nominees for this award and neither Ericka nor Katherine’s client knew who the winner was going to be. 

"They announced the first runner-up, then the second runner-up, and then we found out Katherine won!  We were just excited that she was nominated and being recognized for her hard work . . .  but then she actually won!” said Ericka when recalling that moment. 

In her nomination letter, Ericka writes, "Through The Choice Group, Katherine began providing community support services to female veterans about two years ago. Female veterans often have unique needs and Katherine has done an outstanding job in understanding those needs. She has pushed when needing to push, counseled during moments of crisis, and often times just listened when no one else had taken the time to do so." 

Both Katherine’s client and Ericka herald her dedication to going above and beyond at every turn in their nomination letters, and The Choice Group is so proud to have such a dedicated and caring Vocational Counselor in Katherine.

Congratulations on your achievement! 

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