Betsy Wechter, Program Coordinator for Camps and our Adult Program, recently received the Don Warren Award, which honors Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Employee of the Year. The award was named for Don Warren, a generous board member and prolific volunteer for Easter Seals Greater Houston. Mr. Warren embodied the spirit of giving, and Betsy truly lives up to his legacy!
Betsy received the Don Warren Award this past December at the Holiday Employee Luncheon, which was generously underwritten by Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Board of Directors. Betsy’s supervisor, Christine Ellery, said these words about Betsy:
The very first time I met Betsy – she was maybe 17 or 18 years old and had come into Houston all the way from Red Oak, up in Dallas, to attend the Camp Smiles orientation. Right then I was impressed with her – and her mom and grandmother who had driven her. I thought – now that’s some kind of commitment to drive all the way down here just for orientation – either that or those are some good sales at the Galleria that her mom and grandma came all the way down for!
After that first summer, Betsy came back every year to volunteer at Camp Smiles, something like six or seven years straight. I remember when she was about to graduate from A&M, we were having this chat about what she was going to do next. I remember telling her what a great place Easter Seals – United Cerebral Palsy at the time – was to work for, that all these different professions came together here, that we saw these amazing kids daily. She said, “Yeah, maybe I could work there one day…”
Now it would take a couple more years until Betsy got on Easter Seals’ payroll, but in the short time she’s been here what a difference she has made! Camps Buckaroo and Camp Smiles are bigger and their curriculums are richer – kids still fish and swim every day, but they also learn about advocating for themselves and preparing for life – college and work – without mom and dad. Our clients in the Adult Program are getting lessons in transition that they weren’t offered 30 years ago when they were in school, and she’s giving them the confidence and tools they need to make friends and build community.
But it’s the personal stories, the quiet one-on-one’s Betsy has with individuals, the ones where there are no big thank you’s at the end – that strike me the most. Betsy goes out of her way to show the adults that they are capable, and through her extraordinary generosity she lets the adults know that they are not alone. Betsy is a mentor and a friend to our campers, and she loves them and she challenges them. There are so many campers whose greatest memories in life were made with Betsy by their side.
For me, Betsy’s legacy will be that she teaches people, with and without disabilities, that people with disabilities bring value to our world. Betsy is without a doubt one of the finest examples of good I have ever known.
Please help me congratulate Betsy for winning this year’s Don Warren Award!
You too can help congratulate Betsy for winning the Don Warren Award! Please consider joining Betsy’s Walk With Me team (All About Camps!)or making a donation to Easter Seals Greater Houston in Betsy’s honor.
Christine Reyes Ellery, Camp Counseling & Case Management Director, Easter Seals Greater Houston