Southeast Kansas woman receives national hero of the year award - KOAM TV 7

Southeast Kansas woman receives hero of the year award



For the last 20 years, Helen Cherry has worked at New Hope in Pittsburg, serving those with intellectual, and developmental disabilities. 
"It's not work, what I mean is they give me more than I could give them they've given me passion, drive, purpose," said Helen Cherry.

Thanks to Cherry and others, New Hope is one of the largest special Olympic chapters in the state, and known for providing job opportunities to clients. 

"We have about 78% of our individuals are employed, the state averages about 12%," said Program Director John Lair.  

Helen Cherry will become the first Hero of the Year in Kansas. 

 "This is your life long achievement this is a huge award, " said Lair. 

"Without her, I don't think I know another Helen Cherry, and that's a good thing, because she is the backbone of the company," said New Hope Employee Lois Kerr.  

"She's a very outgoing person she tries to be there for everybody for the consumers and clients and every time I see her she has a smile on her face," said Special Olympics Athlete Chevi Peters. 

Cherry gives credit to her family, and employees at New Hope. 

"I'm very lucky I work with a wonderful group of professional that come to work every day ready to serve and support our individuals," said Cherry. 

"Helen is a really humble purpose she is not used to having the limelight," said Lair. 

Cherry says, "If it gives me an opportunity to tell people about individuals with intellectual disabilities and that they are no different than you and I, I will stand there and shout it to anyone."

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living will present the award to Cherry at a national convention in October.


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