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Judy Heyer named Ohio Centers for Intellectual Disabilities 2015 Caregiver of the Year

Judy Heyer, speech therapist at New Avenues, received the top honor as Caregiver of the Year from OCID, Ohio Centers for Intellectual Disabilities. Judy was honored at the Association’s Awards Luncheon on April 28 at the Columbus Convention Center.

Ohio’s ICF-IID facilities employ thousands of professionals who give daily care to residents. These employees are the backbone of the ICF-IID community, with facilities relying on dedicated teamwork and skills to provide quality care and compassion to individuals and families. The OCID Professional Achievement Awards are designed to honor individuals who have excelled in providing outstanding care in a cooperative spirit of teamwork.

Judy has been a speech therapist at New Avenues for over 40 years and has changed countless lives. 
A Special Message from Judy

To the New Avenues Family: I want to begin by thanking everyone who was involved with selecting me to receive the Thomas M. Lewin IV Lifetime Achievement Award.  This followed with the selection as the Caregiver of the Year presented by the Ohio Centers for Intellectual Disabilities. All this was beyond belief.  At the time I accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award, I said that the residents have given more to me than I could ever give to them. I would like to share a story with you that demonstrates this statement. 

Many years ago, we had a young girl living on main campus, Mary Ann. She had a sister living in Florida, Sissy. Each year, Sissy sent her a ticket to come to Florida to spend time with her. Following one of these visits, Mary Ann was wearing a small Mickey Mouse pin.  She explained that her sister took her to Disneyland and bought it for her.  I told her that I loved the pin and how lucky she was to have it. Approximately one year later, Mary Ann had the opportunity to move to a small group home on the far west side. I was on vacation when she left, and I felt terrible that I did not get a chance to say goodbye. I returned from vacation and went into my office. There on my desk was the Mickey Mouse Pin with a note in Mary Ann's childish scrawl, "I love you.”

There are no diamonds, or other precious jewels that could replace that pin.  It still sits on my dresser to always remind me what an impact the residents have had on my life. Thank you to the entire New Avenues family for having enriched my life.

-Judy Heyer