Wendy Bryan, Webster City, was named Outstanding Employee of the Year at Opportunity Village during the staff Christmas party in December.
Bryan received the Shirley Echelbarger Award from CEO John Severtson. The award is named after an early employee of the Village who was known for her dedication and service.
Bryan was chosen for her commitment, consistency in attitude and work ethics, and dedication to the Village mission. She literally "starts each day with a smile and a song. She has been known to make up words to songs, bringing smiles to everyone around," according to one nomination made on her behalf. "She is known to handle a difficult situation in an empathetic and respectful way, seeking out a solution that appeals to all involved, treating everyone with the utmost dignity and respect."
Wendy Bryan accepts the echelberger Award from Village CEO John Severtson.
One parent of a person served by the Village said, "If only we could clone her, we'd make millions." Bryan is known to have "an amazing ability to bring to life the values we espouse in meeting the needs of the individuals we serve," her nominator said.
The Echelbarger Award winner is selected from winners in the past two years of the Tom Thornblade Award, another employee honor at the Village. Bryan received the Thornblade Award in 2007.
Seven Thornblade awards are given each year. The Tom Thornblade Award is named for another former staff member and is funded by the Martin Koldyke family. In addition to Gabrielson, the Thornblade Award winners for 2008 included Jenene Deakman, Eagle Grove; Patty Binger, Cambridge, MN; Alisha Steburg, Thor; Ron Richardson, Clear Lake; Ellen Johnson, Clear Lake; Jane Trampel, Clear Lake; and Sheri Nielson, Hardy.
Based in Clear Lake, Opportunity Village employs more than 500 full and part-time staff. The Village provides supports for daily living and work to over 500 people with disabilities in the North Iowa area.