Electra Merrell (right) reaches out with a cup of Shine Shack’s chili to serve a fellow cook-off competitor during the 14th annual Wabash Cannonball Chili for Charity Chili Cook Off on Saturday, Oct. 15. Photo by Emma Rausch
By Emma Rausch
Tickets nearly sold out at Wabash Cannonball’s Chili for Charity Chili Cook-Off Saturday, Oct. 15, with more than 5,000 guests in attendance,.
With 85 teams registered to serve on Saturday, the Chili for Charity committee prepared 5,000 voting ticket packages and was less than 100 away from selling out when 2:30 p.m. hit.
“We stopped selling at 2:30 p.m. but continued to take donations until 3 p.m.,” Committee member Steve Weir said. “Out of 5,000 voting strips, we had less than 100 left so we easily had over 5,000 chili tasters.”
By Eric Christiansen
For the second year in a row, the Manchester Squire girls' cross country team will compete at the New Prairie Semi-State, while Drew Jones from the boys' team will join them.
The girls' team finished second to advance as a group, while Jones was the eighth boy competing individually to cross the finish line to move on.
Warsaw won the girls' team title with 30 points, with Manchester second with 101. Maconaquah was third (112), followed by Western (117), Lewis Cass (136), Rochester (142), Northwestern (163), Culver Academies (163), Logansport (196), and Plymouth (258).
Nancy Hoffman the James M. Hammond III award on March 13 from the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (INARF). This award is presented to outstanding executives and administrators in the human services industry.
Hoffman graduated from Manchester University. Her first job after graduation was at Arc of Wabash County. She has been employed at Arc for 38 years. Nancy has performed many different job duties while working at Arc, and through her dedication and expertise, she has demonstrated compassion and determination towards serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Positions she has held are: Daily Living Skills teacher, Workshop Manager, Case Coordinator, Program Director, and Executive Director. While working at Arc, Nancy also taught Special Education classes at Manchester University. She was able to provide her students with a clear picture of the challengers and rewards a Special Education teacher may face in this field by sharing real life experiences she has had with people she has served in Wabash County.
Nancy has cultivated quality programs and services through her leadership. Her commitment to excellence has been recognized by CARF for the services they provide with 3-year accreditations award in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012. As a CARF Surveyor herself, Nancy stays informed about CARF regulations and often brings back innovative ideas and practices she observes at other agencies. Under her guidance, management staff has implemented some of those ideas, improving how services are provided.
Approximately 10 years ago, Nancy was made aware that several people who attended the day services program were soon to be homeless. The agency providing their residential care was closing in a very short period of time. At that time, Arc did not offer any type of home-based care. Nancy decided, with Board approval, that Arc would develop a residential program and offer services in the homes of these individuals. From finding and furnishing houses and apartments to assisting with all the little things that make a place a home, Hoffman ensured the program’s success. It took a lot of work in a short period of time, but Nancy helped make it happen. That program has expanded and Arc now provides services to 12 individuals who live in their own homes.
Nancy is an entrepreneur as well as a good steward of the agency’s funding. There have been a couple of years, because of reimbursement challenges, that tough decisions had to be made. Some of Arc’s programs were eliminated because Arc could no longer provide excellent service and cover their costs. Scrambling to keep the Sheltered Workshop program viable was and is a challenge. Nancy worked to find other sources of revenue that were not connected to a subcontract company or the government. Three major programs were developed: a mailing service, shredding services, and the newest program, a cardboard recycling service.
Expanding the services offered through Arc’s Day Services Programming, Nancy authorized the start of an art program, and more than 20 people with disabilities wanted to participate. The art classes started in March and the year finalized with an art show at a local gallery. Nancy has supported the addition of an agency cat that, in her own way, provides services to those in need of a soft, purring friend. In the past, Nancy was involved in Wabash County’s Special Olympics, and for several years, helped athletes participate at the local, state and national level. She has supported Arc’s participation in the Chili for Charity Cook-off and has been very proud of the many “Most Unusual Ingredient” wins. She claims that each year as a taste tester, she finds their chili to be the best, no matter what unusual ingredient it contains, even shark meat.
Many years ago, Nancy was instrumental in the creation of the Wabash County Local Rural Transportation Committee and continues to actively participate in both the local and regional Rural Transportation committees. Nancy was also a key player in the creation of the Wabash County Nonprofit Alliance, which sponsored excellent local trainings to Wabash County. This committee effectively managed a grant that was used to offer trainings locally for a low cost to Wabash County companies and individuals.
Nancy is a member of the following organizations: Wabash County Chamber of Commerce, INARF, The Arc of Indiana, and of the United States, ICEArc, Elks and the North Central Indiana Society of Human Resource Managers.