SCARC To Host Awards Dinner In Celebration Of 62nd Anniversary

June 5, 2019
SCARC To Host Awards Dinner In Celebration Of 62nd Anniversary

Media Contact:

Dr. Richard Lecher
President and CEO
[email protected]

Augusta, NJ (June 5, 2019) – SCARC, Sussex County’s primary provider of services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities, is excited to announce its 62nd Anniversary Awards Dinner Dance, to be held on June 13th, 2019, at Perona Farms in Andover, NJ. The evening serves not only as a celebration of the organization’s more than six decades of service, but also as a means of recognizing key members of the community.

“SCARC hosts this annual dinner dance to mark another successful year and to show our gratitude to its supporters, volunteers, and staff—all of whom make important contributions to SCARC every day. But we also take this opportunity to showcase some individuals and groups who have made a particularly powerful impact on our organization this past year,” explained Dr. Richard Lecher, SCARC’s longtime president and CEO. “The awards dinner enables us to celebrate them and our organization as a whole with a fun, lighthearted evening filled with dining and dancing.”

This year, SCARC is honoring individuals and groups in 13 wide-ranging categories of recognition:

Teacher of the Year: Kathryn Nieves
Nominated by her employer, Ms. Nieves has taught special education at Sparta Middle School since 2015. In addition to serving as an exceptional teacher, Ms. Nieves, who speaks often on topics related to special education, is an advocate of differentiated instruction and believes in building classrooms that support all learners.

Volunteer of the Year: Tom Brennan

Mr. Brennan has served as SCARC’s Special Olympics powerlifting coach for the last 20 years. He is an incredibly dedicated volunteer who has helped many of the individuals SCARC serves develop into strong, confident athletes.

Joseph Wehmeyer Distinguished Service Award: Department for Persons with Disabilities (DPD) Support Coordination

The DPD’s Office of Support Coordination has been invaluable to both SCARC and to the individuals SCARC serves. With tireless commitment and compassion, the staff at the DPD’s Support Coordination office works side-by-side with SCARC to help individuals with developmental disabilities access the services and supports they need to thrive.

Robert Lane Chairman’s Award: Thomas Baffuto

Mr. Baffuto has served as the executive director at the Arc of New Jersey for more than 20 years, providing invaluable leadership to county-based Arc chapters throughout the state. An outspoken advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities, Mr. Baffuto has been instrumental in the fight for increased state funding for organizations like SCARC.

Employee of the Year: Corina Loponen, Eickmann Center

Ms. Loponen, a DSP who has been employed by SCARC for nine years, is being recognized for her contributions to the Eickmann Center. With great compassion and boundless energy, Ms. Loponen serves as a valued mentor and caregiver to the individuals SCARC serves.

SCARC’s Friend in the Community: The Pierce-Tompkins Family

This incredible family has volunteered extensively for SCARC’s Just Us Kids and Teen Scene programs for more than five years. Perhaps most memorably, the family dresses as Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves each Christmas and makes a surprise visit to SCARC’s children’s programs to hand out gifts and spread holiday cheer.

Employment Connections Worker of the Year: Jeffery Bond

Mr. Bond, one of the individuals SCARC serves, is being recognized for his outstanding commitment to the employment program. Mr. Bond has worked for several years at Ag Choice in Andover, where he is prized for his exceptional dedication and positive contributions.

Employer of the Year: Optics Department at Thorlabs

Since 2011, the optics department at Thorlabs has been one of SCARC’s largest and most successful partners in its Employment Connections program. Each day, the participants in SCARC’s employment program provide manufacturing support for Thorlabs, where they are respected and valued as equal team members by everyone at the Newton, NJ-based manufacturing facility.

Eickmann Worker of the Year: Michael Hulse

Mr. Hulse, one of the individuals SCARC serves, works at the Eickmann Center, where he is widely appreciated by his peers and the staff for his involvement in the sustainable garden that serves as the centerpiece of the Center.

Clark Center Worker of the Year: Daniel Fisher

Mr. Fisher is also served by SCARC and excels in his position at the Clark Center, where everyone is buoyed by his enthusiasm and dedication and impressed by his commitment to reaching his goals.

Harvest Home Volunteers of the Year: Austin George, Ron Price, and Molly Buyer

Mr. George and Mr. Price are being recognized for their exceptional commitment to SCARC’s Harvest Home Foods program, which operates two food pantries that serve Sussex County. There, these dedicated volunteers help to organize, package, and distribute foods to more than 250 local families each month. Ms. Buyer is a very active participant in SCARC’s Explorers program, where she volunteers for various programs in the community.

Senior of the Year: Lauren Lawler

Ms. Lawler has participated in SCARC’s senior program since it was first established in 2000. A very energetic and engaged individual, Ms. Lawler is always eager to enjoy the daily activities at the Senior Center as well as at the Sparta-based group home where she resides.

Sparta Center Person of the Year: Nicole Craig

Ms. Craig is served SCARC’s Sparta Center, which provides services to individuals with significant support needs. SCARC is proud to honor Ms. Craig for her unrestrained enthusiasm, which brightens everyone’s days. She is always willing to lend a helping hand and share her love of learning and books with others.

SCARC is delighted for the opportunity to fete these outstanding individuals and groups at the highly anticipated dinner dance, which begins at 6:30 pm on June 13th. The annual celebration has long been a popular event and is always well attended by the individuals SCARC serves as well as the organization’s supporters, volunteers, and staff. For more information about SCARC, please contact Dr. Lecher at [email protected] or 973-383-7442.

About SCARC, Inc.

Originally established in 1957 by a group of families seeking services for their own children with developmental disabilities, SCARC has grown to serve more than 650 adults and children with developmental disabilities each year, offering a wealth of opportunities for them to live with purpose and value in the community. Currently, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offers employment, recreation, and family services and operates many group homes, supported living apartments, and day programs throughout Sussex County in order to fulfill its mission to provide high-quality services and supports to people with developmental disabilities and their families. Please visit to learn more.