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Vocational Services, Inc., celebrated 50 years of service during their Community Awards Night event June 23. Cutting the anniversary cake were (from left) board members Richard Hubbard, Cynthia Gassen, Bill Welliver, Paula Torkelson, Bill Quigley and Adam Moyers along with Executive Director Randy Hylton.

VSI Celebrates 50th With Honors, Awards

Even with honors to a wide range of area residents and leaders, a big highlight of the June 23 Vocational Services Community Awards Night was celebration of the organization’s 50th anniversary.

Held in the Courtyard by Marriott at Briarcliff, the event featured a silent auction and celebration of VSI’s efforts since 1966 providing employment and other opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Even as workshops nationwide face legal and financial challenge, VSI has continued to serve more than 250 Northland residents with developmental disabilities. More than 300 people attended the event.

The first to be recognized was Consumer of the Year Iris Stites. Joining VSI in 1976, she began at VSI/s North Kansas City location before transferring to Liberty where she has been employed in the workshop as well as with crews working at Mainstay Suites and the Clay County Courthouse. She also volunteered at Martha Laffite Nature Sanctuary and with Meals on Wheels. In 2015, after 39 years of employment, she accepted a position in the community as part of VSI’s Supported Employment Program.

Also recognized were retiring consumers John Branham, George Soper, Barbara Jo Warren, Cheryl Radford, Cynthia Radford and Donald Tweeddale.

Parent Vickie Cross received the Parent/Guardian of the Year Award for her extensive work and support with VSI. The mother of a son employed at VSI, she has contributed to numerous VSI events and has become an outstanding spokesperson for those with disabilities. She is currently a member of the board of directors for the Arc of Clay and Platte Counties.

Krueger and James Insurance Agency was honored with VSI Vender of the Year honors while R.R. Donnelley received the VSI Customer of the Year Award. Two companies were recognized for hiring VSI employees through the Supported Employment Program: McDonald’s near 96th and McGee in Clay County and Oppa! Food Management in Platte County. Kristy Coleman and Melissa Martin accepted for McDonald’s and Manager Chris Dressler for Oppa.

The Platte County Board of Services was recognized as Benefactor of the Year for their longtime support.

State Representative Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) was recognized as Legislator of the Year for his extensive service to workshops across the state. The Working for the Public Good award went to Clay County Public Administrator Debbie Gwin, who has also earned state and national honors for her dedication.

One of the most emotional presentations went to Volunteer of the Year K.C. Cadenhead, who serves as a DJ for VSI consumer events such as holiday parties. He has also taught line dancing and always generates enjoyable memories for workers with disabilities.

The VSI Directors Award went to John Ferguson, who founded Ferguson Properties in 1986.

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For over 50 years, Vocational Services, Inc. has been working for the public good: providing employment and other vital services for citizens with developmental disabilities, and serving the business community with on-demand, flexible services and programs.



VSI services include a wide range of programs for people with disabilities and outstanding services for businesses. Read More.



Parents, guardians, people with disabilities and others interested in VSI programs are invited to schedule a tour of our facilities. Read More.



Learn how you can help enhance our services for people with disabilities. Even a small gift can change a life. Read More.


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Vocational Services, Inc. is recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). The Arizona-based organization is considered the nation's leading accreditation agency for rehabilitation services. VSI has earned CARF's highest rating, a three-year accreditation.