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A Lifetime of Smiles Through Music

By Donny Gromek, Family Member and DJ It has been my greatest honor to bring music to the people at Hammer Residences throughout the years.  In Hammer’s early years, I watched kids grow into teeny boppers, and then as they grew into adults. They are so excited to see me; their faces light up...

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When Talent & Life Merge

By Joe Cullen, Communications Specialist After working for over 20 years as a reporter and producer in the cable television industry, I was looking for a career change. I knew that I wanted to stay in communications creating media. I also was especially keen on finding a job at a nonprofit where I...

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It’s All About Relationships

By Ken Harper, Program Director My journey to Hammer started over 29 years ago, when I moved to Minnesota from Louisiana with the plan of getting a job at Hazelden. My background is in chemical dependency treatment, and I thought I would continue on that path in Minnesota. When I first got to...

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Transitioning with Joy

By Ann Martinka, Hammer Travel Customer Relations My name is Ann Martinka and I have been employed by Hammer Travel, for almost ten years. My husband Bob and I have three children and our middle child, Joy, was born with Down Syndrome. Being the only girl, Joy was lucky enough to get her own room....

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DSP Appreciation Week

By Angela Bernhardt, Director of Major Gifts One of my favorite things about working at Hammer is the people. Honestly, the best people work at Hammer! In my role in the development department, I often share stories of those we serve and their caregivers. In typical Hammer fashion, the people who...

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Eagle Scout Jack Moy is Hammer’s New Hero!

By Ginger Venable, Event and Project Manager at Hammer Residences Through this pandemic, many true heroes have emerged. Jack Moy, Eagle Scout, with help from his family and troop leaders has volunteered his free time during the pandemic to build three amazing pieces for Hammer Residences. Two...

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Learning to Pivot

By Angela Bernhardt, Director of Major Gifts Reading back a grant application submitted in March seems like a lifetime ago. Katie Pease, our Community Life Coordinator, had been planning a project idea with multidisciplinary artist Xochi de la Luna, and Cow Tipping Press, a nonprofit that teaches...

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One Family’s Story Behind the Masks

By Angela Bernhardt, Director of Major Gifts When the pandemic began, Sue Pretzel called the hospital in Aitken, Minnesota to see how she could help.  A lifelong quilter, she was sent a pattern for face masks and got to work at her home on Big Sandy Lake in McGregor using her vast supply of fabric...

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I See You

By Regan Vanevenhoven, Lead Care Coordinator Just over 3 years ago, I transitioned from the program side of Hammer into the Care Coordination Department which is located within the Customized Support Services, or what we like to call Hammer West. For those of you who may not know, Hammer West is...

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The True Meaning of Family

By Samantha Young, Assistant Program Manager at Hammer Residences I have supported Jeanne, who lives at our Queensland home, since the day I started working at Hammer. Like everyone, holidays are also really important to the individuals we support. Jeanne usually spent the holidays with one of her...

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