ADEC presented its highest honor of the year, the 2015 Lifetime Advocacy Award, to John Goebel, (pictured above) a retired businessman and former board member who helped pioneer the agency’s assistive technology program.

Kyle Hankins, Chad Miller and John Ellinger each received the 2015 Dare to Dream awards, the highest recognition for clients.

The award recipients were announced Thursday, Oct. 29, during ADEC’s Annual Recognition Banquet at the Matterhorn Conference Center. More than 300 people gathered to hear a message from Donna Belusar, ADEC CEO/President, and to celebrate a year’s worth of agency achievements.

Boyer, outgoing board chair, did not expect to receive the first award of the evening, Outstanding Support by an Individual, when he stepped up to the podium to begin presenting them. Belusar surprised him by citing his 10 years of volunteer service on ADEC’s board of directors during a decade of change.

“Kevin has helped write a lot of ADEC history,” Belusar said, “our expansion into St. Joseph County, our push for assistive technology and a change in leadership. Thank you for your outstanding support and dedication to ADEC.”

Boyer continued the accolades by presenting community awards to four organizations: USI Insurance Services, Outstanding Volunteer; Meijer Central Kitchen, Outstanding Employer; and SeeMeCNC and TeMAAK, Outstanding Support by an Organization.

For the Lifetime Advocacy Award, Boyer described Goebel as “an entrepreneur at heart” who looks for solutions whenever he sees a problem and views technology as a “largely untapped resource for bringing greater independence to those with intellectual and physical disabilities.”

The last award of the evening, Dare to Dream, went to three men who Belusar said “inspire all of us with their courage, perseverance and contagious optimism.”

John Ellinger, who was not able to attend the banquet, sets an example for his peers by speaking out around the state on disability issues as a board member for Self Advocates of Indiana, Belusar said. Earlier this year, he was sidelined by cancer and forced to take a leave of absence from his day services program and step down from his state board position.

“John found the same courage to fight cancer that he has used to overcome so many obstacles in his life,” Belusar said.

Chad Miller achieved his dream of employment by getting a job at Miller’s Merry Manor in Wakarusa. He also achieved other goals, including earning two black belts in karate. “He does not let his disability limit him or slow him down,” Belusar said.

Kyle Hankins has become a local celebrity, Belusar said. He made ADEC and Chicago Marathon history when he and his staff, Chacriyar Chhuon, competed in the Chicago Marathon as a duo team.

“The feat took hours of training in advance and seven hours of effort the day of the big event,” she said. “Kyle’s dream would not have come true without Yar’s willingness to go that extra 26.2 miles, probably a little bit more, and the two couldn’t have done it without community support.”

Belusar repeatedly thanked ADEC staff and the agency’s community partners for supporting the mission of ADEC by providing choice and possibility to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.

Other awards presented included:

  • Community Service – Scott Bailey, Stephen Lang and Erwin Telgenhoff;
  • Best-Selling Artist – Bridget Lundy, Darrell Harper, Erin Smoker and Beth Ann Geyer;
  • Commissioned ArtistsSandra Dills, Che Hines, Yolanda Marrero and Usha Pffiferling;
  • Outstanding Employee ADEC Industries – Jesse Gingerich, Jennifer Blake and Dawson Brummett;
  • Outstanding Employee Community – Jarrod Kitchen, David Matson and Brenda White;
  • Most Tech Savvy – Nathan Farrow, Nathan Leichty and Lisa Mort;
  • Most Improved Vocational Trainee – John Hunter, Charles Long and Ted Young;
  • Most Leadership Potential – Nathan Griffey, Chuck Lee and Jennifer Miller;
  • Most Productive ADEC Industries – Stephen Bishop, Marvin Harris and Nathan Schweihs;
  • Most Productive Day Services or Group Homes – Willie Jackson, Patty Koenig, Aaron Weaver and Waddell Grimes; and
  • Sportsmanship – Dion McField, Tim Nissley and Jennifer Nunn.


Chad Miller for web

Dare to Dream, Chad Miller

Kevin for web

Dare to Dream, Kyle Hankins

Kevin Boyer for web

Outstanding Support by an Individual, Kevin Boyer

USI for web

Outstanding Volunteer, USI Insurance Services

MeijerCentral Kitchen for web

Outstanding Employer, Meijer Central Kitchen

SeeMeCNC and TeMAAK for web

Outstanding Support by an Organization, TeMAAK and SeeMeCNC