The Rehabilitation Foundation held its annual Scholarships and Awards Reception last week at Good Times of Olean to support employee professional development.

Mari Howard, CEO, thanked the selection committee, comprised of donors, board members and agency staff, for “their commitment and guidance in making these decisions.”

The Jacob J. Karl Memorial Staff Scholarship, named for the late county legislator who served on the ReHab Center’s board of governors and was instrumental in promoting the Agency’s growth during the 1970s, was presented to Jodie Olson.  Jodie has worked for the agency for 18 years.

Jodie’s application read, “I love The ReHabilitation Center. Our purpose is one that is true to my heart. My degree plan is to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services with a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP) certification with NYS. The QIDP credentials are necessary for advancement opportunities.”

The Carroll-Sherwood Memorial Award was established in remembrance of the parents of Mr. Patrick Carroll and Mrs. Gloria Sherwood-Carroll. The purpose of this award is to recognize an agency department or program that puts forth a creative “out of the box” initiative that will support the mission of The ReHabilitation Center, incorporate its values, and at the same time, enhance the department receiving the award.  This is a unique award, in that it recognizes an individual or group effort by staff.  The award criteria is based on supporting the mission of The ReHab Center, enhancing a function of the immediate department or program and increasing the effectiveness of the immediate department or program.

This year, five programs were awarded, for a total of $2,000.00, compared to the standard $500. The five programs awarded were The Employment Connection, The Youth Home, Family Peer Support Services, The Wellness Team and Article 16. Pat Carroll, former CEO of The ReHabilitation Center, and founder of The Rehabilitation Foundation, presented the awards to representatives from each group. “The original reason for The Foundation was for program needs like this, to provide funding for projects that the Center may not have money for. So I am very happy to be able to do this,” said Carroll.

The Charlotte Frost Memorial Nursing Award was established to enhance educational opportunities for nursing professionals. It is named for the parent of a child with a disability who was also one of the founding members of the Rehab Center.  She was president of the Agency’s board of directors for ten years.

This award was presented to Molly Callahan who has been with the ReHab Center for three years.

Molly’s nomination read, “There are many words I can use to describe Molly Callahan, RN of the residential program at the Rehabilitation Center. She is compassionate, accountable, innovative and trustworthy. She continues to learn and uses her skills and knowledge to help provide better lives for the individuals we support.”

The Mary Tremaine Memorial Staff Award is given in memory of Mary, who was a residential services quality assurance manager and worked at the ReHab Center for more than 10 years. Mary is remembered as “dynamic, vivacious with an upbeat personality, with a strong work ethic and tenacity,” Mari Howard said.

The award was presented to Taija Cochran. Taija works as an In Home Intensive Care Provider. She commutes to the homes of people we support to help children learn and develop coping skills.

The Rebecca Ann Hellier Memorial Staff Scholarship was established by members of Rebecca’s family and honors the memory of a bright and loving young woman who lived for many years at the Agency’s home for children and young adults on Fall Road.

“The scholarship was designed to aid in the educational advancement of a ReHab Center employee who is especially interested in leading and inspiring other individuals learn more about supporting people with disabilities,” Mari said, naming Jodie Olson as this year’s award recipient. Jodie pursued the Hellier Memorial Staff Scholarship to help defray the cost of attending SUNY Empire State College.

The Eaton Family memorial Award, established by the Eaton Family in honor of its loving husband and father, Daniel Eaton. “This award recognizes two staff members who consistently give 110%,” Mari said, naming Chuck Meyers and Jeff Flagg as award recipients.

“Chuck is one of those employees who rises to the top. We wish we had three of him! He is always willing to go the extra mile and do whatever is needed to provide opportunities for individuals to succeed,” Mari read from his nomination.

“He is a motivating coach and mentor for individuals who are considering making the leap from the work center to a competitive job in the community. His energy and passion are like a magnet and the people respond well to him as they realize that he is interested in their well-being.

“Our second honoree, Jeff Flagg, has worked for our agency for 19 years. He is a production worker.”

His nomination read “Jeff is very reliable and dependable as is his quality of work. He is very flexible in his duties and will complete any task you give him and always with a smile.”

The final award was the Roger Hennig Memorial Arts Enrichment Grant.  The grant was established in 1990 in memory of Roger Hennig, who had muscular dystrophy.  He graduated from Olean High School in 1970 and participated in the ReHab Center’s workshop program.

“His life exemplified what people can achieve regardless of disability,” Mari said, adding Roger did not let his physical limitations deter him from getting the most out of life.

“Roger was a deep thinker who enjoyed painting and writing, which reflect his philosophical and spiritual approach to life,” Mari said.  “He passed away in 1985, but his passion, determination and memory will always live on in this memorial.”

Our recipient wrote “We would like to purchase fun, out of the box musical instruments such as box drums, didgeridoos, rain sticks and bongos to name a few. We would like to add these items to our current Sensory Room to expand the coping skill options that the kids have to use when they’re upset. The addition of musical instruments to our Sensory Room at the Youth Home would support help us in teaching the kids various coping skills that they can utilize when they are becoming upset or anxious.”

Kristina Vosler, Jamie Boysha, and Pam Pacer accepted the award on behalf of the Agency’s Youth Residence.

The Rehabilitation Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life and maximizing the independence of people with disabilities by providing financial support to meet those needs where appropriate.

Through fundraising efforts and generous community support, The Rehabilitation Foundation has been providing much needed medical supplies, equipment and supplemental program funding for over 20 years. To learn more, visit