Chacriyar “Yar” Chhuon joined the ranks of the “best of the best” Tuesday March 15 when he received the Keystone Award, presented to the “most outstanding Direct Support Professional in the Indiana service delivery system” during the INARF Annual Awards luncheon in Indianapolis.

Yar, a DSP in ADEC’s Supported Living program, was cited for his willingness to run the 2015 Chicago Marathon as the running half of a duo team. He ran while pushing one of the men he serves, Kyle Hankins, in a wheelchair. Being in a marathon was a dream of Kyle’s, and Yar was determined to help him reach his goal.

“The extra mile Yar went for Kyle is typical of the care he provides for each of the men he serves, helping them fulfill their dreams and goals and live life to the fullest.” said Patrick Sandy, CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads, who presented the award on behalf of INARF, the principal membership organization in Indiana representing providers of services to people with disabilities.

“Not one to waste an experience, Yar uses his and Kyle’s Chicago Marathon story as a teaching moment, speaking to groups about the power of possibility and the impact one can have helping someone else achieve a goal,” said Sandy. “Their story was the focus of a series of columns by the sports editor of The Elkhart Truth newspaper, and the subject of a Kleenex Moment video.”

Yar received a standing ovation when he walked up to receive the award.

Yar thanked INARF for the recognition and ADEC for giving him the opportunity to serve. He credited Kyle with being the inspiration for the run and for keeping him going when it got tough. One of the most moving parts of being in the marathon was the support from other runners, Yar said. As runners passed, they’d tap him on the shoulder and remind him, “One step at a time.”

Asked after the presentation whether he plans to run another marathon, Yar looked over at Kyle and answered, “That’s up to him.”

“ADEC is honored to have employees as dedicated and caring as Yar on our staff,” said Donna Belusar, ADEC CEO/President, who attended the luncheon along with several others from ADEC. “We are proud of all he has accomplished. INARF could not have chosen a more deserving recipient for The Keystone Award.”

Other awards presented during the luncheon:

James M. Hammond III Award to an outstanding executive/administrator – Charles N. Schroeder of Putnam County Comprehensive Services.

Partnership Award to a community partner making significant contributions to improve the lives of disabilities and the agencies serving them – AWS Foundation, nominated by Passages, Inc. and Pathfinder Services, Inc.

Justin Dart Personal Achievement Award to an individual who has participated in services through an INARF member agency – Jamie Beck, nominated by Achieva Resources Corporation, Inc.

Costa N. Miller Scholarship Award to one or two outstanding human service professionals to aid in their pursuit of professional development and higher education – Sayward Courtois of Passages Inc., and Terri Cutter of Developmental Services, Inc. 

Yar and the Inarf sign, for web