Community Connections held its annual agency picnic and awards presentation on October 2, at Archer Park. Community Connections is a Supports for Community Living (SCL) Medicaid Waiver Program that supports people who have been diagnosed with mental retardation/developmental disabilities. The agency provides residential care, day programming, therapies, supported employment, respite and in-home support services. Community Connections has been in business for five years. It is owned by Joyce Bates. The agency is governed by a board of directors made up of community members. Peggy McKenzie, of Louisa, has served as executive director for the past two years. Each year, all Supports for Community Living (SCL) Medicaid Waiver agencies are reviewed/audited by the Department of Mental Retardation and Medicaid. Depending on the findings of the review, each agency is certified anywhere from one to 12 months. Community Connections had its most recent review on July 25-26. The agency received another excellent review and was certified for the maximum year. Agency staff worked very hard throughout the year to earn the excellent rating. At the picnic, all individuals supported and agency staff had a wonderful time and all were presented with a Community Connections t-shirt. Everyone was presented with a framed certificate and trophy highlighting the amount of time they have been associated with Community Connections as a token of appreciation from the agency. One year employees were presented with a one-year service pin. One-year employees included: Kathy Crum, Daphne Demas, Rita Ratliff, Pam Riffe, Rhonda Samons, Josh Vick, Amanda Wells, and Cecilia Hamilton. Two-year employees were presented with a two-year service pin. Two-year employees included: Kristy Boyd, Ginger Jarrell, Mary Meade, Lisa Robinson, Mercedith Turner, Peggy McKenzie, Kristen Beach, David Beach, and Maggie Belcher. Three year employees were presented with a three-year service pin. Three year employees included: Mildred Blevins and Linda Hall. There were no four year employees. Five-year employees were presented with five-year appreciation plaques. Five-year employees included: Brandy Sexton, Brian Clevenger, Taulbee Goodman, and Linda Goodman. The agency has continued with its Employee of the Month awards throughout the past year. The person chosen to be named as employee of the month is the staff member that has gone over and beyond the call of duty for that month. The August, 2006 award went to Josh Vick. The September, 2006 award went to Cathy Crum. Both employees were presented with a plaque and a $25 gift certificate from Reno's. Additionally, their names will be added to a plaque that is displayed in the agency's administrative offices. Both individuals are now in the running for the Employee of the Year Award, which will be presented to a deserving individual in September, 2007. This year was the first year that the agency named an Employee of the Year. The 12 individuals chosen as employee of the month for the prior year were candidates for the award. Those individuals were: Deborah Lindsey - August, 2005; Kevin Brown - September, 2005; Mildred Blevins - October, 2005; Mary Meade - November, 2005; Brandy Sexton - December, 2005; Pam Riffe - January, 2006; Lisa Robinson - February, 2006; Amanda Wells - March, 2006; Rhonda Samons - April, 2006; Cecilia Hamilton - May, 2006; Jeannette Mullins - June, 2006; and Patricia Lowe - July, 2006. The award for Employee of the Year 2006 was presented to Mary Meade, house manager, Scott Lane. Mary was presented with a plaque and a $500 bonus. In addition, her name will be on a plaque that will be located in the administrative office. The board of directors of Community Connections would like to take this opportunity to offer their thanks to Executive Director Peggy McKenzie for her excellent leadership and dedication. In turn, Ms. McKenzie would like to offer her thanks to the Community Connections administrative team which includes: Ginger Jarrell, medical coordinator/supported employment manager; Daphne Demas, assistant director; Kristy Boyd, case manager; Linda Hall, records manager; Mercedith Turner, administrative assistant; Brandy Sexton, house manager; Rhonda Samons, house manager; Mary Meade, house manager; Lisa Robinson, house manager; Patricia Lowe, house manager; and Cecilia Hamilton, ADT supervisor. Additionally, the entire administrative team offers their thanks and appreciation to the direct care staff for their quality support and dedication. And, finally, everyone at Community Connections offers their thanks to all of the individuals they help to support. Agency administrators feel that they have the best staff in the area and encourages everyone to continue with all their good work.