When Evan Hoover sat down to talk over his experiences at ADEC, one of the first things he did was pull out an ADEC Annual Report from 1982. In it, Craig Fulmer, board president at the time, writes,
Our goals for this next year are clear . . .
— Increased vocational opportunities
— Expansion of residential options
— Creative utilization of staff and resources to meet increasing client needs – for children and adults of all disabilities.
Evan looked up after reading through these goals with a proud smile and said, “That’s what I’ve been a part of for 35 years. From the beginning, we were focused on choice and possibility. And I’ve been behind the scenes making it happen.”
Evan came to ADEC during a recession. He was having trouble finding a job in his chosen field of accounting and computer science when a friend suggested he look at ADEC.
Working with people with disabilities was nothing new for Evan. he had fond memories of hanging out in high school with Dirk Vardaman, Philip Hostetler and Ruth Hoffman, all longtime clients of ADEC. Before coming to ADEC, he spent some of his free time volunteering at MDC Goldenrod.
Evan has found that he’s able to build closer relationships with ADEC clients because he lives with muscular dystrophy. He’s spent a lot of time being involved with the Northern Indiana chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, even winning their Personal Achievement Award in 1996. He spent more than 20 summers working at the MDA camp, lending his experience and encouragement to others.
In his time at ADEC, Wednesday basketball games have meant the most to Evan. When his nephew wanted to be a part of the 70+ member team, Evan started volunteering as a coach. About 10 years ago, he met his wife at an ADEC basketball game. She was working as a Direct Support Professional in an ADEC group home. While Evan’s coaching days are behind him now, he always looks forward to hearing, “Hey Coach!” when he’s out and about around ADEC.
In his first position at ADEC, Evan was as a Residential Supervisor with ADEC’s independent living program for people with visual impairments. During the week, he lived at ADEC’s Tipton Street facility while coordinating evening activities and providing assistance to people who came to stay from the surrounding areas.
After spending a year in this position, he took a new position in accounting as the accounts receivable bookkeeper. In this role, he did Medicaid and Vocational Rehabilitation billing, as well as other accounts.
In September of 1985, Evan took on the newly created role of Electronic Data Processor Coordinator. ADEC had three computers at the time, two of which ran on software predating MS-DOS. His first project was to update the computers with software for accounting, payroll and billing.
For 30 years now, Evan has enjoyed working in this position. He is now the IT Services Manager for ADEC and has two staff under him. He considers his biggest accomplishments to be installing the computer network on the Bristol campus and coordinating the process of getting all ADEC computers online.
Work Becomes Personal
Several years ago, Evan’s work became personal when his nephew, Dustin, moved in with him. Throughout Dustin’s life, Evan had helped him and his family receive the services they needed from ADEC as they navigated Dustin’s disability. Since Evan and Dustin had always been close, Evan was quick to open his home when Dustin needed a new place to live after graduating from high school.
Evan helped Dustin get involved with ADEC’s Employment Services. Over the years, the two of them have navigated the full gamut of transitional responsibilities – getting and retaining a job, figuring out the logistics of transportation and navigating the workplace for optimum accessibility.
After he started working, Dustin told Evan he decided he wanted to learn to drive. He passed the initial evaluation to receive a driver’s license, but he had to get through both the written and road test before he could get behind the wheel.
Evan made Dustin a study guide and spent hours working with him. It took two tries, but Dustin passed! Now Dustin enjoys a new level of independence as he goes back and forth from work alone.
“I learned firsthand what families go through and how to support them,” Evan said.