2007-12-27 / Education

COOR gives Ralph Sperry Award to Hamina

HAMINA HONORED Eric Hamina (left) accepts the 2008 Ralph Sperry Award from COOR Board of Education President Bob Carpenter. Hamina was honored for his support of people with disabilities overcoming barriers to participate fully in their communities. ` (Courtesy photo) HAMINA HONORED Eric Hamina (left) accepts the 2008 Ralph Sperry Award from COOR Board of Education President Bob Carpenter. Hamina was honored for his support of people with disabilities overcoming barriers to participate fully in their communities. ` (Courtesy photo) Eric Hamina of Timbers on the Cut River was recently honored with the annual Ralph Sperry Award given by the COOR Board of Education and ROOC, Inc.

The memorial award is given to an individual in recognition of his or her contributions to assist people with disabilities to overcome barriers and to participate fully in their communities.

Hamina, who has operated the restaurant since 2006, began employing people with disabilities almost immediately. He had previously worked with people with disabilities and he knew the value of supported employment programs and services like those provided at ROOC, Inc., a nonprofit community rehabilitation program providing employment and training services to adults with disabilities.

ROOC's first placement at the Timbers was an individual who had been previously employed at another restaurant for several years. With support from Hamina and his staff, the worker has been able to work successfully for the Timbers without any staff assistance from ROOC - something he had not been able to accomplish in years of doing the same type of work at another location.

That successful outcome could not have been possible without the culture of support and respect for people with disabilities that Hamina has created, the board wrote in a press release. "His philosophy is that it does not matter if you have a disability - if you work hard on achieving your dreams, you will. His support not only provides a paycheck for people with disabilities, but also gives the community a chance to see what people can accomplish when given an opportunity."

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