In honor of Hammer’s 100th anniversary and NER’s 50th anniversary, we have published Legacies, a special anniversary magazine, celebrating our history, the people we have supported, and those who have made our mission possible all these years. Here is one of the featured stories:
Barb Tuckner (on the right in the above photo) is a former Hammer Board member and was Board president at the time of our former CEO Tim Nelson’s untimely passing. Her father, Jerry, also served on Hammer’s Board of Directors. Barb’s cousins (who own Warners’ Stellian Appliance) have been long-time supporters of Reach for Ralph in honor of Barb’s sister, Janet, who has been supported by Hammer since 1981.
When Tim Nelson, previous CEO of Hammer Residences, eulogized my father in 2009 he said that “While it has not been completely verified, Jerry Tuckner was the longest serving Board and committee member in the history of Hammer.” He went on to talk of my father’s dedication to Hammer and his service ethic. At the time, I was serving on the Hammer Board and thought at that moment, I was in some way standing adjacent to my father’s legacy. That was enormously comforting on that sad day. I was so grateful to Tim for echoing that message off the church walls—walls that my father, incidentally, had a part in building as well. I remember sitting up a wee straighter in the pew and feeling even more proud of my dad.
I suspect most of us have been tapped for service in any number of situations. Who hasn’t watched a child for at least a moment while a parent tended to a task or, shoveled a walk for someone or, held a door for someone struggling with crutches? At Hammer & NER, you may have set up tables for the Family Day Picnic or the Luau, greeted people as they arrived at the Reach for Ralph fundraiser, or raked the yard of one of the group homes. All these acts are critical and demonstrate a service ethic and commitment to giving back to the providers that have helped make a safe and comfortable home for that person in our lives who has special needs. All these acts serve to further define us and build our individual legacies that Hammer & NER can stand on forever. We’ve often been told that we are needed. Our hands can join together in service that sustains and reaches everyone supported or working for Hammer & NER. It is breathtaking, really.
I have a set of simple rules I follow when I engage with Hammer & NER:
- Pay attention to what my loved one’s house or apartment needs and help to get it.
- Show gratitude to every DSP, house manager, office staff, etc., that I encounter.
- Show up with my talent and/or my muscles that are still in good working order.
- Know my legislators and make sure they know me and my loved one.
- Give a budgeted amount of money continuously to Hammer & NER to demonstrate my ongoing support.
I am indebted to Hammer & NER and all its past and present leaders for their business sense, passion for the people they support, and the talent they recruit to help build a loving and caring home for my sister. I will continue to show up where I can and as a side benefit, hope to build a small legacy as an homage to my father, my sister, and that intrepid soul, Tim Nelson.