Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2016 ANCOR DSP Recognition Awards!Image Banner

Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2016 ANCOR DSP Recognition Awards!

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Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2016 ANCOR DSP Recognition Awards!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
2016 DSP of the Year Josh Alford

Alexandria, VA. — The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) announced today that Joshua Alford of Independent Opportunities in Somerset, KY, is the recipient of the 2016 National Direct Support Professional Recognition Award, which is underwritten by Relias Learning. ANCOR will present the award to Alford at a ceremony honoring Direct Support Professionals (DSP) from across the nation on May 3rd at ANCOR’s 2016 Conference: Get Smart! Get Inspired! Get It Done! in Chicago, IL in front of an anticipated audience of nearly 400 attendees.

Since 2007, ANCOR has honored exceptional Direct Support Professionals with the Direct Support Professional Recognition Award for exemplary work in furthering community inclusion and full participation for the many Americans living with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. Josh Alford was the standout of this year’s field of 242 nominees. ANCOR also named state recipients of the DSP Recognition Award in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Josh says he found his calling at Independent Opportunities Lake Cumberland in Somerset, KY, a small town of 11,500. “I can’t ever imagine doing anything else now,” he says of his position as a Crisis Response Specialist (CRS). “My job has become way more than just a job.”

As a CRS, he is the person on call 24/7 for emergency situations in the agency’s 48 staff residence homes – to take someone to the emergency room or make sure they get the correct medical treatment if sick or injured, to calm serious behavioral situations or to find someone who has walked away from the a home.

“He’s perfect for this job,” says Leslie Hall, Independent Opportunities’ Regional/Executive Director. “He’s patient, unselfish and very understanding. He has a vivid imagination and a wonderful sense of humor. He displays integrity, responsibility and dedication in all aspects of his life,” she says. “He’s very non-assertive, more on the quiet side, but he has no trouble speaking with anyone. And he’s so reliable and so good at what he does. There’s not a lazy bone in his body.”

Mr. Alford’s nomination referenced instances in which he supported families in crisis, and planned trips for individuals he supported and accompanied them, even when those activities happened in the hours he wasn’t scheduled to work.

Earlier this year Mr. Alford was also honored by the Kentucky Association of Private Providers (KAPP) as its DSP of the Year.

“It is such a pleasure to read so many stories of exceptional DSPs and the work they are doing to support people with disabilities,” said Barbara Merrill, ANCOR CEO. “Our national and state award recipients truly are the cream of the crop, but we know that there are many like them across the country, working largely without recognition, who deserve our gratitude and appreciation for their hard work, dedication and compassion.”

“It is the mission of ANCOR’s National Advocacy Campaign to obtain the resources necessary to attract and retain professionals like Mr. Alford and this year’s state award recipients,” continued Merrill. “We must continue to remind our policy makers that quality services to support people with disabilities require a stable and qualified workforce who are valued for the work they do.”

ANCOR’s Direct Support Professional Recognition Award is given to those who personify the values of ANCOR’s National Advocacy Campaign. Nominees are judged on their success in helping people with disabilities build social networks and engage in substantive community participation and for advocating for the people they serve. Relias Learning, an organization which offers online training to senior care, health and human services, public safety, and intellectual and developmental disabilities organizations, is an underwriter of the ANCOR DSP awards for the second year in a row.

2016 State Direct Support Professional Award Recipients

Patricia Hinton Alabama Resources for Independence/Sunrise
Madi Knauer-Graham   Arizona Mosaic in Arizona
Danny Lynch Arkansas Bost Inc.
Armielynn   Usita California ResCare California - Friendship Developmental Services
Kayla Finstad Canada ResCare - Canada
Jodi Shumaker Colorado Dungarvin Colorado
Melinda Parker Connecticut The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc.
Shannon Stevenson D.C.                     St. John's Community Services
Markita Clark Florida Salem Homes of Florida/ResCare
Heather Smith Georgia ResCare
Taniskia Morning Illinois Community Alternatives/ResCare
Penny Hostetler Indiana Dungarvin Indiana
Peter Mullaney Iowa REM Iowa Community Services
Cary Odell Kansas Johnson County Developmental Supports
Melissa Hughes Kentucky A Brighter Choice, LLC
Theo Cameron Louisiana Womanspace Louisiana/RHD
Tyrone Wilson Maine Group Main Stream
Jasmine Brown Maryland The Chimes, Inc.
SueAnn Levack Michigan ResCare
Amanda Noyes Minnesota CCRI, Inc
Julia Schaffner Missouri St. Louis Arc
Linda McConnell Montana Opportunity Resources, Inc.
Heather Short Nebraska Community Alternatives Nebraska/ResCare
Karen Sofranko Nevada Dungarvin Nevada
Eva Kiriga New Hampshire Gateways Community Services/Nashua Center
Linda Miller New Jersey Bancroft
Iris Lucario New Mexico ARCA
Stephanie Giorgenti New York The Resource Center
Edwin Roberts North Carolina Community Alternatives NC - ResCare
Todd Sheldon North Dakota HIT, Inc.
Judy Perry Ohio Koinonia Homes
Mattie Irvin Oklahoma Dungarvin Oklahoma
Caitlin Summers Oregon Community Support Services Inc
Jerome Williams Pennsylvania Keystone Human Services
Andrea Winslow Rhode Island West Bay Residential Services, Inc
Carlean Eaton South Dakota Aspire, Inc.
Wendy Saulsberry Tennessee SRVS
Shawn McAllister Tennessee D&S Community Services
Keisha Miller Texas ResCare
Cody Vandrimmelen Utah Danville Services of Utah
Tim Brown Vermont Lincoln Street Inc.
Eldred Ahlakor Virginia Resources for Independence/Sunrise
Debbie Dillard Washington Puget Sound Regional Services
Lisa Weaver West Virginia ResCare, Inc.
Yolanda Lozoya Wisconsin Dungarvin Wisconsin
Raquel Grieser Wyoming ResCare Wyoming


The American Network of Community Options and Resources is a national trade association representing more than 1,000 private providers of community living and employment supports and services to more than 600,000 individuals with disabilities with a workforce that’s 400,000 strong. ANCOR advocates for the crucial role private providers play in enhancing and supporting the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

Through its National Advocacy Campaign, ANCOR seeks to obtain the resources to recruit, train and retain a sustainable direct support workforce. ANCOR provides organization, professional, leadership development and networking opportunities and services and is continually working toward partnerships and collaborations that support our mission, which is to advance the ability of our members in supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fully participate in their communities.