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MMI Annual Achievement Awards – 2017

Case Management Achievement Award
MMI’s Board of Directors established awards to recognize the people who receive services at MMI. The Case Management Services and McCollom-McFarlane Achievement Awards recognize the accomplishments of individuals participating in MMI’s programs. These awards are given out at the annual Board meeting in December.


Gretchen B.

Gretchen was the young mother of a toddler when she entered the PATH program in February of 2017.  In an effort to obtain employment that would enable her to support her family, Gretchen enrolled in a Medical Assistant program through Ross Medical Learning Center in Saginaw.  However, she soon realized that going to school full-time, working, and raising a young child by herself was an overwhelming load.  Furthermore, her schooling overlapped her work hours to the point that she was not able to work enough to pay her bills.  In desperation, she applied to DHHS and started the PATH program.

With the assistance of DHHS, and supportive services through the PATH program, Gretchen was able to focus on her education while still spending quality time with her child.  Gretchen learned from this that sometimes it is okay to reach out for help, and that doing so can actually be a very positive experience.

When Gretchen’s training was complete, Michigan Works! helped her find suitable job listings.  Her Career Coach gave her instruction and assistance in preparing herself for job interviews.

After 10 days of job searching, Gretchen was offered a full-time position with Covenant Health Care in Saginaw.  She started out with full benefits and opportunities for rapid advancement.  Now Gretchen is able to support her family.  When asked how she felt about her experience with the PATH program, Gretchen replied, “It’s a terrific program, I would recommend it to anybody who wants to improve their situation.”


McCollom-McFarlane Achievement Award
This year marks the 23rd Anniversary of the McCollom-McFarlane award which began in 1994. It was established in honor of two past MMI board members, to honor a person served from each primary location of MMI. Nominations are gathered then based on a vote of the persons receiving services the McCollom-McFarlane overall winner is selected. These awards are given out at the annual Board meeting in December.


Donna V.
Isabella – Overall Winner

Donna started with MMI back in 1985, more than thirty years ago.  She began at MMI like so many did at that time, working in production but she soon progressed to working in Community Employment.   Donna has worked on a wide variety of Community Employment Crews.   She has worked on day crews doing recycling and grounds maintenance, and evening crews doing nearly every janitorial crew that MMI has had over the past 32 years.

Donna is a very social person. She has a pleasant personality and a good sense of humor which helps her maintain relationships with a variety of people. Donna is fortunate to have a supportive family. She cooperates well with others, is a good worker and is willing and able to show others how to do a variety of tasks.  

Donna enjoys participating in a variety of activities. She likes to be helpful to others in her family and in the community. She likes camping, participating in Special Olympics, volunteering to assist with events through Special Olympics, softball, bowling and attends   Mt. Pleasant Community Church regularly. She also helps with Sunday school as well as vacation bible school in the summer. Donna is very thoughtful of others that are going through a rough time.   She is always thinking of them and will say a prayer for them.

You might think that is enough for one person, but not Donna, who also has a micro-enterprise that Listening Ear assists her with.   In her spare time, Donna makes greeting cards, personalized tags, calendars, and soaps.   Donna sells all of her products at crafts shows and special events such as the Dickens Christmas event in downtown Mt Pleasant early in December.

Donna, after working with MMI for around 15 years, decided to get an independent job.   Soon after beginning this endeavor she was able to start working at the Soaring Eagle Casino as part of their cleaning crew.  When that didn’t work out the way she planned, she chose to come back to MMI, for more training with the CE crews.

Currently Donna works Monday through Friday with the Sacred Heart Janitorial crew. Donna’s job coach, Bobbie Joe says “Donna is a hard worker.  She loves to help people on her crew as well as others.   Donna goes beyond her job to make sure the school looks very good and tries to make sure that even the bathrooms smell great.  When I started as Donna’s job coach six months ago she made sure to show me around.  Donna helps a lot when it comes to ordering and putting cleaning supplies away.”


Corey G.
Clare County

Corey began working at MMI on August 6th 2012. He is currently enrolled in MMI’s Employment Connections and Community Connection programs. Corey is an eager and determined individual who takes great pride in his work.  He strives to complete assigned tasks as independently as possible.  Corey’s work ethic, willingness to accept and embrace change, and his leadership skills are the reasons he was selected for this award.

Corey completed his education this past June with the Clare- Gladwin RESD, and since has shown great progress in expanding his employment opportunities. Corey attends MMI five days per week, working in the manufacturing area for half the day and participating in Community Connections the other half. He has experienced a wide range of work over the past year, and when an opportunity arises for him to work, he readily volunteers. Corey also receives training with MMI’s janitorial crew that is responsible for cleaning the Clare office. He has been referred to Michigan Rehabilitation Services for community integrated employment and recently finished his first on the job evaluation successfully.

Corey has worked hard to gain personal independence and embraces the changes that he faces daily. He has recently moved into an independent living environment. Corey enjoys staying busy. When he is not working, he enjoys working on re-building motors and works on mechanical projects with his roommate.

Corey is someone that is viewed as a leader by his peers. He steps up and is a willing volunteer to help whenever he can. Corey is a polite and considerate individual, always looking for ways to help others around him. According to the Coaches he works with, Corey is an enthusiastic worker and helper who will try anything at least once!

During the time that Corey has been at MMI it has been a pleasure for us watches Corey’s personal growth. His ambition and positive attitude towards change are contagious!


Paul T.
Southern Operations

Paul began in services in 2015. He was nominated for this award because of the overall quality of the efforts that he has made to enhance his life. 

Paul’s services began with Community Living Supports in 2015. During that time he was apprehensive about services with MMI.  While he always remained polite and courteous Paul’s lack of interest in having a tidy home was apparent. Through consistent coaching and encouragement gradually Paul became more invested in the services he was receiving from MMI and was able to make significant advancements towards achieving his goals. 

Starting in May of 2017, Paul made the decision with the help of Leah Harris from Montcalm Care Network that he would like to join one of MMI’s work training programs.  The training program that seemed to be the best fit for Paul was the JC Penny Crew. This crew starts there day at 7:30am and are expected to have JC Penny ready for business by 10:00am.  Paul is a significant part of the team in making sure that happens.  Paul at this time is consistently volunteering to take the responsibility for one substantial area.  Paul’s co worker stated that “He is a good worker.  He is a good helper and a very kind and polite person.  He is good at his job.”  Another coworker stated that “He is responsible and demonstrates a good work ethic.  He is always willing to help the team.” 

Recently, Paul was off work recovering from an injury.  During this time he kept in contact with his coaches’ to make sure they knew how he was doing. When he was ready, Paul made sure to notify MMI that he was ready to “get back to work”!

With all the efforts that Paul has made and his accomplishments it is obvious why Paul was selected for this award. Paul’s participation has improved greatly, he is much better at keeping his apartment clean, and he no longer complains about the tasks that his staff ask him to do. Paul is looked upon highly by his co-workers and his coach. 

MMI Annual Achievement Awards – 2016

Case Management Achievement Award
MMI’s Board of Directors established awards to recognize the people who receive services at MMI. The Case Management Services and McCollom-McFarlane Achievement Awards recognize the accomplishments of individuals participating in MMI’s programs. These awards are given out at the annual Board meeting in December.


Jessica J.

cherie-jessica-matt-path-participant-award-12-12-16Jessica was entered into the PATH program in June of 2015 when she applied to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for cash assistance to help pay her bills while she attended school to become a medical assistant. The course was too intensive for her to be able to attend classes, do her homework, raise a child and work all at the same time, so this seemed like a viable option to help support her and her child during her studies.

The PATH program assisted Jessica by paying to have insurance put on her vehicle, and reimbursement for gas money to attend school in Saginaw.

 Jessica knew she was taking on a challenge when she decided to go to school to become a medical assistant, especially while raising a young child on her own. Jessica learned that she has abilities she had never given herself credit for in the past, and that it is ok to ask for help when it’s needed. Jessica successfully completed her coursework as required in December 2015.

 Prior to entering the PATH program, Jessica had been working as a cashier at a gas station. With her training, she is currently working as a Medical Assistant.  Jessica has been employed by Isabella Citizens for Health (ICFH) since February 11, 2016.  And with that, DHHS was able to close her cash assistance case in March 2016. Jessica is well on her way of becoming a successful role model for others as well as her own child.

McCollom-McFarlane Achievement Award
This year marks the 22nd Anniversary of the McCollom-McFarlane award which began in 1994. It was established in honor of two past MMI board members, to honor a person served from each primary location of MMI. Nominations are gathered then based on a vote of the persons receiving services the McCollom-McFarlane overall winner is selected. These awards are given out at the annual Board meeting in December.

Kari H.
Southern Operations – Overall Winner

cherie-kari-matt-s-o-overall-award-12-12-16Kari has been with MMI since May of 2015. Kari tried a few crews before she found one that was a good fit.  Kari presently is working as part of the Montcalm Care Network crew.  She is a major help and an excellent employee.  Kari has been assigned to work one day a week and then fills in when needed on the other days.  It is Kari’s goal to be an MMI job coach one day.  She  is presently working with her job coach to receive training and assistance with interview skills in preparation to become a job coach.  Kari has also been working on the Secretary of State crew and the JC Penny’s crew and is willing to fill in on all three crews when needed. She is a very pleasant and supportive person to work with whether it is 5:30 a.m. or 8:15 p.m.

Kari is a very quiet and reserved individual. When first starting on the crew she talked to almost no one. Now, she initiates conversations regularly with other crew members, the job coaches, and staff at her assigned locations. She has even made a few new friends. Kari lives independently with her husband and child. Her promptness and attendance has improved since she started over a year ago. She shows up on time for work consistently, and she informs the job coach when she won’t be able to make it in. Kari has learned to do every task at each site she is assigned and finishes them without complaint. She has also began completing a timecard when she works, so that she gets into the routine of punching in and out.

Dennis P.
Clare County

cherie-dennis-matt-clare-mm-award-12-12-16Dennis began working with MMI in February of 2011 in the Transitional and Community Employment training programs. Dennis is a passionate and determined worker and takes pride in the paychecks he earns.  Dennis’s “can do” attitude is one of the reasons why he was chosen for this award.

 Dennis is a very polite and considerate individual; he is always quick to say “good morning”. In his free time, he enjoys repairing lawnmowers. Dennis has the spirt of an entrepreneur and put his hobby to work; he works for his neighbors by mowing lawns, raking leafs, and shoveling snow. He is also the person who is paid to mow the lawn at the Clare MMI office!

Repairing lawnmowers is not Dennis’s only hobby; Dennis also makes and sells rugs. He uses a loom to craft rugs from plastic grocery bags. Dennis enjoys staying busy. When he is not repairing a lawnmower, raking leafs, or making a rug he can be found at the Harrison Best Do It center. Dennis enjoys spending his paychecks on tools and lumber. He is always working on a project!

Dennis works in the manufacturing area four days a week and on the fifth day Dennis does independent shredding at Community Mental Health. Dennis is one of our “go to guys” when it comes to complicated, strenuous, or tedious jobs. According to his Connections Coach Mike Oles, Dennis is an enthusiastic worker and will try any job.

In 2009 MMI secured a contract with Bucher Hydraulics, and Dennis has worked on this job since he started. Over the years he has worked hard to increase his production rate from 200 parts per a day, to approximately 550.  His record is 625! This job requires Dennis to put a tight fitting gasket inside the piston housing without the O-ring inside the gasket slipping out.  He then has to quality check the part for metal shavings in the housing, as well as a number of other things that could affect the gasket from operating properly.  If the job is not done properly the gasket has to be pulled out and cannot be used again.  It has been a pleasure for us at MMI to watch Dennis advance his experience. His ambition and positive attitude are contagious!

Pat U.
Isabella County

cherie-pat-matt-mp-mm-award-12-12-16Pat began with MMI in January of 2012 in the Community Employment Program.  Pat had been competitively employed at Ponderosa, but lost his job due to some unexpected changes in his life. He needed a place to hone his skills, his attendance, and rebuild his life.   Pat chose to focus on being the best custodian and floor care specialist at MMI, and he has done an excellent job as part of our crews. He is always positive and friendly, productive, dependable and flexible.  Pat is a team player who is always willing to help his co-workers and coaches.  He assists with maintaining the equipment, helps in the training of new crew members, and truly serves as a great role model for others. 

In the last two years, Pat has started back to school with the hope of getting his GED.  Also, Pat who had lost his drivers’ license a while ago, has been successful in having it reinstated this past year.  Recently, Pat met with Michigan Rehabilitation Services to explore competitive job placement options.  Although, at this time, he has chosen to stay at MMI, we will continue to encourage and work with Pat, to help him reach his fullest potential.  It is our dream that other employers will soon see in Pat, what we see.  That he is an excellent employee with great potential.