TIBH hosted its tenth annual Artie Lee Hinds Award dinner on Sept. 27, 2017 in Austin. Nearly 400 attendees—including 46 award nominees, their family and friends, community rehabilitation program (CRP) representatives, customers and TIBH board members, among others—recognized TIBH, its CRPs and their exceptional employees for their dedication and contributions to the WorksWonders Program.
For the second consecutive year, veteran TV journalist, Judy Maggio, emceed the program, along with TIBH president and chief executive officer, Fred Weber, Jr.
This year, attendees were entertained by an inspirational speech from keynote speaker and Iraq War veteran, Josh Bleill. Bleill was motivated to serve his country after the events on Sept. 11, 2001. Following in his father’s footsteps, Bleill enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and, after boot camp, was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2006, where he became a victim of a roadside bomb. Five days later, he awoke to the realization that he had lost two friends—and both of his legs—in the blast.
Bleill spoke about his story of perseverance and determination to overcome his adversities. He also reiterated the important impact a job offer from the Indianapolis Colts, immediately following his recovery, had on him. With the help of that organization and those around him, Bleill was able to regain his self worth and found a way to thrive once again.
Following Bleill’s captivating speech, TIBH recognized the Top 10 customers who purchased products, services and employment services through the WorksWonders Program. The Top 10 customers are comprised of city, county and state agencies and organizations, and the program would not succeed without their unwavering support.
TIBH then presented Rick Flores, an employee of Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, with a token of appreciation for his service, honesty and personal character in returning a valuable ring to a patron. Flores found the irreplaceable graduation ring after it had been lost at the San Marcos Visitor Center, where he works providing janitorial services, and he immediately returned it to management, where it was then reunited with its original owner.
TIBH also recognized the individuals who have gone above and beyond to ensure the success of the WorksWonders Program, as well as those it serves, before awarding the 2017 Spirit of State Use Award to Kevin Jackson and Tim Laws.
Jackson was recognized for his dedication to the WorksWonders Program. He was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on the former Texas Council for Purchasing from People with Disabilities, where he served as chair of the Pricing Subcommittee, and later, when administrative duties for the program were transferred to the Texas Workforce Commission, he served on the Purchasing from Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee so he could continue to help lead and advise the program in which he was so invested.
Laws took over TIBH’s service contracting within the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in 2013, and he has been instrumental in providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities by growing the number of service contracts DPS has with TIBH. He not only recognizes the financial benefit of utilizing the WorksWonders Program, but also has a passion for its mission to employ individuals with disabilities.
TIBH then celebrated the life of TIBH chairman emeritus and namesake for the evening, Ms. Artie Lee Hinds, who passed away on May 19, 2017. Her daughter, Denise Cartwright, was presented with an award on behalf of her mother’s tireless fight to defend the rights of individuals with disabilities.
Later, Joel Felan, who performs janitorial services at the TIBH office in Austin, as well as many other locations, was recognized and presented with a special President’s Award for serving as a constant reminder of the unparalleled dedication provided by employees of the WorksWonders Program.
Throughout the evening’s program, attendees also had the opportunity to view three videos showcasing standout CRP employees—the winner of the “Most Inspirational Employee” award, Reginald Howard (Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind); the “Most Motivational Employee,” Curtis Johnson (Star Care Specialty Health System); and the overall winner of the 2017 Artie Lee Hinds Award, Westin St. Clair (Enterprise Professional Services, Inc.).
St. Clair was recognized for his determination and drive to not only overcome the challenges he faced as a result of a tragic car accident, but to thrive professionally and personally despite them.
Thank you to all who attended this year’s Artie Lee Hinds Award dinner and made the evening a success. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.