Clermont DD hosts recognition dinner

The Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities hosted a recognition dinner Nov. 2 to honor several award winners for their dedication to improving the lives of those with disabilities.

“It’s important because there are so many people who support what we do,” Sharon Woodrow, superintendent of Clermont DD, said about why they hosted the dinner.

Woodrow said organizers decided to host a dinner event this year so they could bring everyone together and thank them for their support.

She said award winners are nominated by their peers, and a committee of judges outside the county selects the winners each year.

“They were selected because something rang a bell,” Woodrow said. “And pulled at a heart string of one of the judges.”

Clermont DD presented 10 awards to members of the community at the dinner for their separate contributions to the organization.

Shrope Home, a family-operated boarding home, received the Provider of the Year Award for the support they provide to individuals with developmental disabilities.

The award for Self-Advocate of the year was given to Amy Jones, who has been involved with the Clermont DD program for years. Jones has grown through the program and has become involved in statewide conferences as a speaker.

Volunteer of the Year went to Millie Apgar, who gave up her time to help those with developmental disabilities at Wildey Center. She also dedicated time to organizing forms and other information for the Respite program.

“I am just flattered,” Apgar said about winning the award. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction, that’s why I can’t believe they honored me.”

Apgar said she became involved with Clermont DD because as a mother, she understood that people need a safe place where they can take their children. She said it’s nice to work at Wildey Center and know that the children are having fun.

Jay Williams, principal at the Wildey School received the Advocate of the Year award. Woodrow said Williams earned the award because she is an efficient and gifted administrator, who constantly works to broaden services offered to her students.

Senator Tom Niehaus took home the Community Leader of the Year award for his involvement with Clermont DD and Little Caesars Pizza was selected as the Business Partner of the year.

Denise and Mark Strimple were named Foster Parents of the Year for their dedication to Clermont DD, and have served as foster parents in the county for more than 20 years. They have nurtured many babies, toddlers and even entire families.

And while all the award winners are “friends” of Clermont DD, Zach Malec earned the Friends of DD Award this year for his donation to the organization.

Malec, who is working toward his Eagle Scout certification, built a shelter house for Clermont DD as a project for his Boy Scout troop.

“When I finished it felt like a strong accomplishment,” Malec said about the project. “From what I’ve heard it has been beneficial.”

The final award of the night was the Triumph Award. Rhonda Bocks, a Habilitation Technician at the Donald A. Collins Habilitation Center, received the Triumph Award for her day-to-day efforts to support individuals in the Intensive Training Program.

“She came in early before work and stayed late until the job was completed,” Woodrow said. “Rhonda is a strong advocate for individuals served in the Adult Services program and has no tolerance for anyone who says they ‘can’t’ strive to meet goals.”

For more information about Clermont DD visit