36 Years and Counting

By Kim Hansen, Director of Human Resources I came to Hammer 36, yes thirty six, years ago as a student intern. I was fresh out of college with a zest for life, new ideas to share and wanting to make a difference in the world. Well, more than three and a half decades later, my zest isn’t as zesty...

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Reach for Ralph 2014

On Thursday, July 24th over 450 people came together to make dreams come true for the people we serve. Our annual summer benefit was a huge success thanks to a wonderful group of people that made the magic happen. In addition to an army of volunteers the night of the event, a group of 15...

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A Voyage Like No Other

by Rosemary Fish As my friend Tony Baisley, Hammer’s Director of Communication, advises, “Write about what you know.” Okay, since that’s pretty straightforward, I’ll go right to the topic I know best: being the parent of a daughter with special needs. By way of introduction, my daughter Leslie is...

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Why I Volunteer

By Bill Perrine, Hammer Volunteer My name is Bill Perrine and I am entering my eighth year as a volunteer for Hammer Residences. Back when Hammer was considering a major event to build its awareness and fundraising efforts, my friend Lisa Anderson called me to ask if I could put my event...

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Family Key to Success

By Jeff Warner, Warner’s Stellian History books omit the names of many important people. Despite their significant impact, their part of the story remains unwritten. In Warners’ Stellian’s story, such a man existed. Gerald Tuckner married dad’s sister Marie. Jerry was a...

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Growing Up with Hammer

By Wendy Paulson, Human Resources Specialist Congratulations Hammer Residences, on being recognized as a Star Tribune Top 100 Workplace for five years in a row! On June 15, the Star Tribune published “Top Workplaces 2014”—a list of the best places to work in Minnesota. Only 14 Minnesota companies...

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Celebrating the Successes in Advocacy

By Terriann Matejcek, Director of Advocacy & Volunteer Resources Often our work and our world are moving so fast that we forget to take time to celebrate. We forget to step back, take a breath and say “Wow. That really was something!” On Tuesday, June 10, legislators, family members,...

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Risky Business

by Lisbeth Vest Armstrong, Chief Program Officer Did you ever consider the disability field  a high risk career option? It’s true. While it is such a fun and fulfilling profession – we  get to hang out with, and support, such incredibly sensitive and creative people – there is a price to pay for...

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Running for Fun?!

By Mallory Clark, Assistant Program Manager Last fall Brandon Eddy, RN and I were brainstorming creative ways for people to exercise and have fun at the same time. We came up with the idea of encouraging the individuals we serve to challenge themselves and participate in a 5K. As we searched the...

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Person Centered Thinking and Planning

By Betsy Gadbois, Director of Learning & Education for Opportunity Partners Person centered thinking and person centered planning seem to be the buzzwords in the disability world, again. We have been talking about these concepts for all of my 30+ years in the field. We all want to believe that...

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Living a Healthy Life with a Disability

By Katie Jo Houtman My name is Katie Jo Houtman, and I was born with Prader-Willi syndrome. This condition affects the area of the brain responsible for appetite control. It also causes poor muscle tone, a very high percentage of body fat and lack of energy. Because of Prader-Willi syndrome, my...

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Living Life to the “Max”

By Peter Schaffran, Case Manager I began supporting those with disabilities in 2002 when I worked with developmental disability children. I was a college student at MSU – Mankato and I was searching for the right fit after graduation. After I short time working at Pinnacle with...

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A Board Member’s Perspective

By Bill Young, Board Vice President for both Hammer and Hammer Travel It was 2009, and I was having a bad day at work. I stepped out of the elevator on my way home and ran into a coworker, Mark Flannery who was the immediate past President on the Hammer Board of Directors.  He said, “I have great...

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A Voice for Autism, Here and Abroad

By Melissa Diamond, Direct Support Professional Last summer, I hosted a lecture event in Minnetonka as a fundraiser for my organization, A Global Voice for Autism. The event featured Hammer CEO John Estrem and parent autism advocate Idil Abdull. Idil has been a leader in drawing attention to the...

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Happily Ever After

By Beth Fondell, Hammer Advocate, Volunteer & Former Board Member Everybody likes a good story, right? A “happily ever after” tale has a special appeal. As a fifth grader, it was the biography of Helen Keller that peaked my interest in the lives of people with disabilities. At the time, I had...

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How to Start an 80’s Glam-Rock Tribute Band

By Josh Hollenhorst, Billing Specialist Music is important. This may seem like an obvious statement, but sometimes we need reminding. Music is one of a few things that has the power to move us, help us, or inspire us. Most importantly, music has the ability to bring people together. Music helps us...

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Saturday Morning Pancakes with Truman

By Elijah Berg, Direct Support Professional One of my favorite memories from childhood was spending the weekend at my grandparents’ house. On Saturday mornings, I would awaken to the smell of my grandfather’s pancakes. My grandfather worked at Pillsbury for years, and he had a “secret” recipe for...

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