Anderson Named Outstanding Employee 2014

Jean Anderson, Fort Dodge, is Opportunity Village's Outstanding Employee of the Year for 2014.

CEO Jeff Nichols presented the Shirley Echelbarger Award to Anderson at a Christmas open house for staff in Fort Dodge. The award is named after an early employee of the Village who was known for her dedication and service.

Jean Anderson began working in 1989 as a nurse for Northwoods Living in Fort Dodge, now a service of Opportunity Village since 2010. Anderson has been employed in various positions at NWL over the years. In 1999, Anderson went to 84 hours of training to become an Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner with the Community Support Department at NWL. Currently, her role is QDDP (Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professional) for Cedar House at NWL.

"Jean's straight-forward approach to services has been highly effective when supporting persons served in meeting their goals," said her nominator. "One of Jean's qualities that positively influences others is her ability to maintain professional boundaries in a positive way. Her focus is on the individuals served and their best interests. She has the ability to look at issues from a unique perspective to anticipate many different outcomes and often thinks of things that others had not considered. She challenges others with her perspective, but always does this in a matter-of-fact professional manner which is respectful of other's viewpoints."

Anderson is considered a leader within Northwoods Living, as a highly-respected supervisor and excellent ambassador for Opportunity Village. She is the first staff from NWL to win this award. She also is one of only four original NWL staff still working there.

The Echelbarger Award winner is selected from winners in the past two years of the Tom Thornblade Award, another employee honor at the Village. Anderson received the Thornblade Award in 2014.

Several Thornblade awards are given throughout each year. The Tom Thornblade Award is named for another former staff member and is funded by the Martin Koldyke family. The Thornblade Award winners for 2014 are Deb Paschal, Diane Carlson, Dan Peterson, Jean Anderson, Dawn Leonard, Bonnie Bradbury, and Karen Staley.

Opportunity Village employs more than 600 full and part-time staff and is the largest employer based in Clear Lake. The Village provides supports for daily living and work to nearly 600 people with disabilities in many communities of Iowa.