The Arc of Katy honors our 2020 award recipients

Updated: Feb 23

The Arc of Katy recently honored our 2020 award recipients: Katy Christian Ministries and KCM Executive Director Deysi Crespo as Hometown Heroes for a Great Place to Live; Sandi Dancel and Don Wolf of Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics as Heroes for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; Therese Lattal as the Ann Davis Founder Award honoree, and Don and Sheryll Butler as Volunteers of the Year.

The Arc of Katy on Dec. 7 and 8 presented 2020 award recipients with the honors we planned to bestow on them at our Annual Gala in April. Although the gala was postponed until next year because of the pandemic, The Arc of Katy wanted to publicly recognize our award recipients before the end of this challenging year.

“We are blessed to have many wonderful people and organizations in Katy that do so much both for the community and for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD),” said Fred Shafer, The Arc of Katy president. “At this time of year, we wanted to ensure we publicly recognized them for all they do to make our world a better place.”

KCM, a human services non-profit organization founded in 1984 in the Katy/West Houston area, was recognized at its Board of Directors meeting Monday. KCM was honored as The Arc of Katy 2020 Hometown Hero for A Great Place to Live for the support it provides to 12,700 local people annually through 20 programs that make up the organization’s four core service streams: social services, food pantry, crisis center and resale store.

The Arc of Katy 2020 Hometown Hero for A Great Place to Live — Deysi Crespo, Executive Director of Katy Christian Ministries. Portrait by Country Park Portraits in Katy, March 2020

“Many people have the misconception that Katy does not have need for services like those offered by KCM,” said KCM executive director Deysi Crespo. “However, the need is here and prevalent, and there is no better way to serve than to help those in our own back yard who may be going through various hardships.”

On Tuesday, The Arc of Katy publicly recognized Don Wolf and Sandi Dancel as 2020 Hometown Heroes for individuals with I/DD.

Hometown Heroes Sandi Dancel and Don Wolf with members of Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics.

2020 Hometown Heroes Sandi Dancel and Don Wolf with some members of Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics. Portrait by Country Park Portraits in Katy. March 2020.

In addition to teaching special education and working different jobs that benefit individuals with I/DD, both Wolf and Dancel have been instrumental in leading the Katy Wolf Pack Special Olympics program for 21 years. The Katy Wolf Pack is the state’s largest Special Olympics team with about 250 athletes.

Also Tuesday, Therese Lattal was honored as The Arc of Katy 2020 Ann Davis Founder’s Award recipient and Don and Sheryll Butler were recognized as the organization’s Volunteers of the Year.

Therese Lattal, The Arc of Katy 2020 Ann Davis Founder Award recipient, with some participants of The Arc of Katy. Portrait by Country Park Portraits in Katy, March 2020.

Lattal has served as a volunteer and as both an instructor and the director for the Day Program of activities for The Arc of Katy participants. In 2013, after hearing pleas from parents“‘to keep their children and adults moving”’, Lattal started the Be Strong Program. Working with Rhonda Johnstone (The Arc of Katy 2019 Ann Davis award recipient), the two ladies developed an exercise program for participants In the Day Program. The Be Strong Program includes aquatics classes (both therapeutic and aerobic) and using treadmills, stationary bikes, weights and various other muscle strengthening equipment.

The Butlers became involved with The Arc of Katy 15 years ago, when they were searching for a day program for their son Keith.

Sheryll and Don Butler, The Arc of Katy 2020 Volunteers of the Year, with their son Keith, a participant in The Arc programs. Portrait by Country Park Portraits of Katy, March 2020.

“The Arc of Katy was a great fit for us and we had no idea how much it would change our lives,” Sheryl Butler said. “We are grateful for the experiences Keith has had at The Arc of Katy which gives participants the opportunity to socialize, learn, make new friends and be a part of their community. We are most amazed by the compassionate staff and the attention and care they give to all participants.”

Over 15 years, the Butlers have volunteered for numerous events with The Arc of Katy, such as the Color Run for a Cause, the Barn Dance, the Piccadilly Market and even “some labor intensive moving of supplies”.

Like all organizations, The Arc of Katy has been impacted by the 2020 pandemic, but the organization has worked resiliently to develop ways to continue providing programs for its participants.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has helped The Arc of Katy both in 2020 and over the years,” Shafer said. “We absolutely couldn’t have celebrated our 30th birthday this year without your support.”

Helping to underwrite The Arc of Katy 2020 Hometown Heroes Program in 2020 are local companies, Country Park Portraits, Big Frog T-Shirts and More, and Curry & Co. Consulting.

Note: All portraits presented to awardees this week were taken in early 2020 prior to the community spread of and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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