WorkQuest hosted nearly 400 attendees during its 12th annual Artie Lee Hinds Award dinner in Austin this September, recognizing supporters of the State Use WorksWonders Program, which provides employment opportunities for Texans with disabilities.
Alongside various other guests in attendance, award nominees and their families, WorkQuest board members and employees, and community rehabilitation program (CRP) representatives gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of Texas employees with disabilities—and the dedication of WorkQuest and its CRP partners.
Among those honored were Jerrell Harris of ABG Fulfillment, who received the Most Motivational Employee Award, and Edgar Contreras of Xceed Resources, who earned the Most Inspirational Employee Award.
WorkQuest also presented this year’s Spirit of State Use Awards to Buddy Edgemon, president and CEO of Beacon Lighthouse for the Blind, and Lori Henning, executive director of the Texas Association of Goodwills (TAG), for their longstanding commitment to the WorksWonders Program. Edgemon has dedicated over three decades to aiding employment growth, retention and upward mobility of the blind and visually impaired. Henning has served as executive director of TAG for 16 years, where she has served as a tireless advocate for legislation that focuses on workforce development, job creation and skills training for people with disabilities.
The evening’s keynote speaker, Jim Abbott, is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who shared his inspirational story of achieving success despite being born without a right hand. While at the University of Michigan, Abbott became the first baseball player to win the James E. Sullivan Award as the country’s top amateur athlete. He played 10 seasons for several MLB teams, including the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, and he even pitched a no-hitter. He now travels the world sharing his message of perseverance and creatively adapting to overcome adversity.
Following his address, WorkQuest recognized the Top 10 customers who purchase products, services and temporary employment services through the WorksWonders Program. These customers include multiple state, city and county agencies and organizations. Organizations that were recognized for being new to this year’s lists were the Department of Family and Protective Services for its purchase of products; the Department of State Health Services for its purchase of services; and the University of Texas at Arlington for its purchase of temporary employment services.
Throughout the event, attendees viewed videos showcasing the standout employees recognized during the program, including Harris and Contreras, as well as the recipient of the pinnacle honor of the evening, the 2019 Artie Lee Hinds Award, which was presented to Jamie Chilton of Beacon Lighthouse for the Blind. She was recognized for her determination, resilience and compassionate leadership at the Lighthouse, where she’s overcome several personal obstacles while excelling in her work.