On Wednesday, September 9th, Mr. Steve Enders (The Arc’s President and C.E.O.) received The J. Bradley and Connie Aust Champion Award at a luncheon ceremony at the Pearl Stable in San Antonio. The award luncheon was presented by the Reaching Maximum Independence (RMI) Corporation. This award recognizes the personal commitment and professional excellence of those who champion the cause of people with disabilities, improving lives throughout our community.
My mom and I were graciously invited to the luncheon at the Pearl Stable by Ms. Pam Stephens (The Arc’s Director of the Community Outreach Services) because I had written the nomination letter for Mr. Steve. I got the chance to meet Ms. Debbie Kennedy, the Head of The Arc’s Board of Directors. I was surprised and honored when Mr. Steve mentioned my name in his acceptance speech.
After thirty-one years of working at the University Health System, on Monday, December 13th, 2010, Mr. Steve started working at The Arc of San Antonio. I remember that I was one of the Arc Participants to meet Mr. Steve during his first tour of The Arc. Mr. Steve wasn’t afraid of us, like some people can be. He genuinely was interested in learning about all of the Participants, our thoughts and feelings. Even when Mr. Steve was talking to me, a Participant with a speech disability who uses a communication device, Mr. Steve very nice and patient while I finish my thoughts. Mr. Steve is very interactive with us. He is always willing to help me get information and pictures for the monthly newsletters. Many years Mr. Steve participated in our Classroom Contests. For example, one year, Mr. Steve carved a pumpkin to be included in our Classroom Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest. I have named it, “Run! It’s Old Man Pummernickle!” Also, Mr. Steve makes sure that all of The Arc’s Participants are very well taken care of. When I told Mr. Steve that I was concerned that we wouldn’t have a Talent Show try-outs and practice this year because our practice microphone was damaged by water. Mr. Steve made sure that we received a new microphone in time for our Talent Show try-outs. Recently in June, when I was upset and worried that copies of the Newsletter wouldn’t be able to be sent to The Arc Parents / Guardians because of financial difficulties, Mr. Steve found a way to insure that The Arc Parents / Guardians would still be able to receive the Newsletters.
Mr. Steve is making a positive impact on the lives of individuals with intellectual, physical disabilities at the two locations of The Arc on West Avenue and Wurzbach Road by increasing the quality and values their programs and services have for the participants and their families. Paying extra special attention to the specific needs individuals with disabilities, he is helping to create a change in the San Antonio culture by increasing opportunities for participation and inclusion in the community where we live. Mr. Steve said, “Any success I’ve had is totally related to the fact that I’m surrounded by a great team of staff and board members who truly have our mission at heart… I’m very thankful to be selected for the Brad and Connie Aust Champions Award, but it really belongs to everyone I work with.”
The Arc Participants and Arc Staff Members are overwhelmingly proud of Mr. Steve and the many improvements that he has made to The Arc over time the years. Mr. Steve is one of the best C.E.O.’s The Arc has had in quite a while. Mr. Steve is a great addition to The Arc of San Antonio family.