Hammer and the Boy Scouts

By Angela Bernhardt, Director of Major Gifts

The Boy Scouts and Hammer Residences have been partners for many years. In 1970, under the leadership of two Hammer dads, Alden Keiski and Jim Solinger, a Boy Scout troop was formed at Hammer.

image001“In the early 80’s I was a direct care staff in the boy’s dormitory,” said Ellen Timmerman-Borer, Hammer’s Chief Development Officer. “Many of the guys who I worked with were proud to be boy scouts. We hosted regular meetings in the Hammer gym, inviting scouts from other troops to volunteer and assist the Hammer scouts in earning badges and planning camping trips. Some of the dads, like Dick Wesley, and I even spent a weekend with the Hammer troop at Many Point Scout Camp!”

Over the years, local boys have done their Eagle Scout services projects to benefit Hammer. From building yard games for our homes and apartments, to making frames for an art show, to organizing volunteers for the basketball program and more, boy scouts have been supportive of Hammer and fulfilled the scout slogan of “do a good turn daily.” Troop 570 Senior Patrol Leader, Ethan Weiche, is currently doing a service project for Hammer and says of his experience, “Being able to contribute something visibly meaningful to this inspiring organization is very rewarding.”

boy-scout-disability-awareness-badgeThis year, Boy Scout Troop 570 of Plymouth, earned the disabilities awareness merit badge as a troop. The timing was intentional, with the 25th anniversary of the ADA in the news, and having members of their troop with disabilities, the boys determined earning this rare merit badge was important to them.

The disabilities awareness merit badge has several requirements, including learning about the importance of people-first language and proper disability etiquette, visiting an agency that works with people with developmental disabilities (they toured Courage Center) and speaking with a fellow scout who has a disability and learning about his experiences in scouting activities. They also met with an individual who has a disability to learn about his experiences and the activities he likes to do, and finally, the troop learned about myths and misconceptions of people with disabilities.

One of the members of the troop lives with autism. Along with his mother, he spoke to the troop, thanking everyone for being so accepting and following the scout law: “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Because of the scouts, he has had the chance to do things he never imagined he would do, like rock climbing, canoeing and camping monthly (even in the winter!).

Alex Luther

Self-advocate Alex Luther and Hammer’s Director of Advocacy and Volunteer Resources Terriann Matejcek spoke to the troop about some stereotypes of living with a disability. The boys had a chance to ask Alex questions and learned he liked parties, games and food. So, they invited him to their holiday party, and to their delight, Alex attended joined in on the festivities. Most recently, Alex was invited to the troop’s Court of Honor BBQ, but he couldn’t make it due to Hammer’s annual fishing trip!

George Wilson, Troop 570 Parent Committee Chair says of the relationship between Hammer and Troop 570, “Through the visits and interaction, both the scouts and their parents have gained a new appreciation for the challenges faced by those with disabilities. We have gained an understanding that while individuals living with disabilities have different challenges, they also have many abilities. It has been a great experience for all of us.”

Hammer’s Day Support Services: 25 Years of Laughter and Tears

By Brad Fenske, Day Supports Coordinator

In the fall of 1989, I was given the unique opportunity to be a part of Hammer’s new Day Support Services. This program was one of the first in the area to look provide care for both retired individuals and those without day placement services. The first retiree I supported was Hammer’s own Ralph Rosenvold. Ralph was loved by all for his spoon and bones playing, organ music, and fun loving personality. Ralph was also the first of many individuals to go directly from Hammer’s Day Support Services to hospice care at his Hammer home.Day Program 3

In addition to Ralph, the program also served many high school kids on break and individuals transitioning from their school years. When school closed for the summer, attendance at Day Support Services filled up with energetic teenagers who always wanted to be on the go. We spent our summers at the State Fair, Como Park, MN Zoo, etc. These individuals also helped cook hot lunches for the group and worked on job skills such as collating and filing. For me, this was a blast. I started at Hammer on the Boys Floor, and now they were all back under my support five days a week.

Back then, Hammer’s Day Support Services was unique because our focus was on getting the individuals we supported to participate in the wider community as often as possible. Most programs in the area were site-based where individuals went and participated in activities without having much interaction with their community. In fact, other organizations started touring our program to see what we were doing and get ideas they could implement at their own programs.Day Program 2

As the years have passed, the group dynamics have drastically changed. We now serve all adults (retirees, individuals on a break or without a job). Dementia, Alzheimer’s and the needs of aging adults have become a huge focus at the Day Program and at Hammer in general. The same young men I worked with on Boys Floor are now coming to my program in the throes of advanced Alzheimer’s and are needing care from someone they still remember and know. Because of our nearly lifelong relationships and smaller group setting, we have helped individuals thrive when they were no longer able to in their former day support program. They participate in their community as much as possible until they are no longer able to do so. After they leave our care, many individuals begin hospice at their home, often for less than a couple months before passing.

It’s so important that we are able to keep these individuals active and enjoying their hobbies and interests until they transition to hospice. It can be a daily challenge to support those we have come to love in their final days, but we consider it a sincere privilege. We have the joy of seeing individuals bowl for the last time, strum a guitar song for the last time, enjoy time with our therapy dog Dottie for the last time, and visit with old staff and friends at Hammer’s main building for the last time. At the same time, we also support these individuals through the confusion, fear and anxiety that comes with dementia and with most daily personal cares.Day Program 1

There have been years where we lose many of our loved individuals in a short period of time. This past year or so alone, we have lost Don, Jim F, Jim L, Laurie, James, and Alfred. Some of these individuals were at the Day Support Services for over 10 years, others for months. All were loved and cared for as you would care for someone truly special and close to you in their final days.

On behalf of the staff at our Day Support Services, I thank all the families who have shared loved ones with us these past 25 years. Even If it was just for an interim period or to spend their last days, each person has touched us deeply and changed our lives. As humans, this shared experience has made us all better. We love more deeply, serve more humbly and live more purposefully. What we do with our lives matters, and I am glad to have spent a good part of my life at Hammer.100_0804

From the Northwoods to Hammer

By Karen Lafferty, Graphic Designer

My connection with Hammer Residences began in the 1990s, before Hammer moved to their current office building. I met with Ellen Timmerman-Borer in hopes of doing graphic design work as an independent contractor. We met a number of times over the next year or two as Ellen made some decisions on working with new graphic designers.

Karen (right) volunteering at Reach for Ralph 2014.

Karen (right) volunteering at Reach for Ralph 2014.

Then, on a beautiful summer day, I was hiking deep in the woods with my husband and two small children on the Superior Trail in Northern Minnesota. It was deserted until we saw another family approaching. As we got closer, the woman called my name: “Karen, is that you?” It took me a second to recognize the voice and face, but sure enough, it was Ellen.

She took our unlikely wilderness meeting as a sign that we should work together, and we have ever since. Over the years I have produced newsletters, annual reports, appeals, and brochures for Hammer. I have volunteered on a number of projects, served on the arts committee and have even painted a few of the big Ralph statues you see around Wayzata.

RFR logo 2015Hammer has truly enriched my life. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everyone I have met and worked with over the years. I am constantly amazed by the care and support each employee provides to improve and enhance the lives of the individuals they serve. I consider it an honor to help share just some of the many amazing stories of this great organization.

Now that summer is here, Reach for Ralph is quickly approaching. This annual benefit is always an exciting event! This year I have been lucky enough to design the invitation and program using the colorful art of Robin Westergreen who lives in an apartment supported by Hammer. It is a joy to meet other Hammer supporters at the event and I cannot wait to see what magic the night will unfold.

I sincerely value my connection to Hammer and plan to stay connected for years to come!

Brand Strength: Have You Got the Goods?

By Tony Baisley, Director of Communication

martin patrick 3I’ve been thinking recently about what makes a brand successful. Is it snappy tag lines? Flashy ad campaigns? Or, simply a great product? Obviously, without the goods (or services), initial interest will eventually wane. Volvo did not become synonymous with safety, nor Nordstrom with customer service, without consistently outperforming their competitors. But the success of a brand is not solely measured in revenue generated. Brands can be near and dear to people’s hearts for myriad reasons. So, a few weeks ago I decided to take our two-person Communication department on an after-hours field trip.

Martin Patrick 3 is a men’s clothing and lifestyle boutique in Minneapolis’ North Loop. Being the denizens of good taste and all manner of beautiful things, they are also a personal favorite of mine. Because they are smart retailers and share a similar appreciation for quality brands, they recently hosted a “Behind the Brands” event featuring some of their own favorites. Although as different as night to day from the professional disability services we provide, I wanted to ask the brains behind these companies what they believed differentiated their brands from the pack.

First we talked to Eddie Wu, owner, of Cook St. Paul. This former ”Denver’s Best Bartender” decided he wanted a different path, so he moved back to town and opened his own restaurant on the east side of St. Paul. Mr. Wu introduced Cooks on the premises of a former restaurant that had served the community for more than 30 years. In other words, he had his work cut out for him. But slowly – and surely – he won over his new neighborhood with a goal to offer a range of traditional American Diner Classics at the highest level of quality. He shared stories of little old ladies stopping in for Gingerbread Pancakes because word on the street (literally) said they were amazing! And his brand is growing – he was recognized as one of the best new restaurants in the Twin Cities 2014.cook

Looking like a rockstar in that way only Californians can pull off, the namesake of Matias Denim quietly talked about his passion for meticulously hand-tailored “evolved denim” as his products were displayed around him. He acknowledged the difficulty competing against bigger brands, who regularly gobble up vast quantities of the raw materials needed for his jeans. He also spoke candidly of an opportunity he could have taken to sell his product in China – a very big stage indeed. He rejected it. He wanted to continue to offer unique and original apparel, not a pair of jeans billions could wear. This independent artisan had a clear sense of his brand, and I was grateful to hear the wisdom and originality of his plan.

matiasMaintaining a healthy curiosity about the world, events like these invigorate and inspire me to think about opportunities for my own organization. Hammer is blessed with a healthy internal culture. I think many would agree that we have a strong, positive brand within our industry and throughout the state (maybe even the U.S.). But, a brand doesn’t maintain its strength on its own. As a nonprofit organization, we cannot always pay professionals the salary they are worth, in my opinion. Hence, there is more turnover in this field than any of us would like admit. Just ask the developmentally disabled we support who count on these individuals for professional care and support. A byproduct of the work we do is developing relationships with those we serve. Therefore, it can be heartbreaking when someone leaves for a better paying job (or to a different industry altogether) because they need to better support themselves or their families. This is reality. Hopefully intangibles like job satisfaction, sense of empowerment, and belonging to the ”Hammer family” figure into the equation somehow. It certainly does for me. Yes, Hammer has the goods but we mustn’t get complacent if we want to continue to compete for the best talent in an industry that handles the most precious of products: human capital.

A World Opened Up

By Jan Hopper, Program Manager

Tristan LukanenTristan has lived at Hammer since 1978 when he was 10 years old. Like all of us, his life has changed as he aged. His family moved to Seattle, and he had to travel to see them (about once a year). These trips became the high point of his year and were his main topic of conversation. He would hardly return from a trip before he started talking about the next trip. This was no surprise, as his family always planned fun activities and travel when he was with them.

In meetings, his mother would talk about how Tristan loves to travel and is such a fun travel buddy. This started his staff thinking, maybe more travel during the year would give Tristan more topics of conversation and more events to look forward to sharing? The hesitation was, Tristan became anxious when alone in a group of people he didn’t know.

TL San Diego 2015 (2)Working with Hammer Travel, we arranged a custom trip for Tristan and two of his house mates – a fall train ride to Chicago for a weekend stay. The trip leader came and spent an evening with Tristan, getting to know him and talking about the trip. The funding for Tristan’s expenses was supplemented by Hammer’s Quality Of Life fund, as he didn’t have enough to afford everything himself. The trip was a huge success! Tristan had a new topic of conversation. He could discuss the trip before (“Do they have nice hotels in Chicago?”), and then tell everyone about it when he got back. We posted photos at the house, and he would point to them to discuss the trip.

Because the Chicago trip went so well, another was scheduled for San Diego earlier this spring. Tristan loves animals so the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park seemed to be perfect places for him to visit. He also loves the ocean and was excited to see it from the shores of California. This time, Tristan went without anyone he knew. The trip leader met with him twice and even went to dinner with him before the trip to make sure he was comfortable. He spent a lot of time talking about how the ocean might look or what animals he might see.

Again the trip was a success! He continues to talk about it, especially the ocean (“It is so big you can’t see the other side.”) and the big cage of birds he could walk through at the zoo. He liked the trip leaders, Lisa and Emily. On the way home from the airport he was telling me all about his trip. Just before we pulled in the driveway he became quiet for a minute. Then, with a smile he asked: “What makes Lisa’s smile so pretty? Is it her eyes?” I agreed that it was probably her eyes.

tristan travel

People that haven’t seen Tristan in a long time are commenting on how much chattier he is and the increase in his eye contact. His mother reports the same thing about her conversations with him on the phone. He is more social and talkative. He has stories to tell and places about which to talk.

Tristan is planning a trip to see his family soon, and he is talking about it…not with the same intensity as in the past. Now he has other things to talk about too – how big the ocean is, the birds at the zoo, the weather in San Diego or the hotels in Chicago. Because of travel, his world has opened up and he is living a fuller life. This was made possible with help from Hammer Travel and the Quality of Life fund that many of our donors generously support.

A Day at the Spa

By Lauren Pehler, Assistant Program Manager

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The theme of last year’s Reach for Ralph benefit was “Making Dreams Comes True.” That evening, guests were able to help fund the dreams of a number of people Hammer serves. Robin, an individual I support, had a dream any lady would enjoy – a day at the spa. Her wish was generously granted by two generous donors for a day at New Reflections Spalon in Plymouth.

Robin was ecstatic about scheduling her day of pampering and relaxation. She chose to save it for one of the dog days of winter and had been looking forward to her day of beauty for months. So, on a chilly Wednesday in early March, Robin headed to the spa.

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From the moment we entered the spa, the staff at New Reflections went above and beyond to treat Robin like a princess. Having never been to a spa before, Robin’s eyes lit up while we sat the waiting area. “Wow, this is so cool. I love it!” she said when she saw a large fish tank and elegant light fixtures. As you might imagine, I was loving all of this too! What’s better than sitting in the relaxing atmosphere of a spa seeing an individual you serve get so excited?
Robin’s day of beauty treatments included a massage, facial, haircut and manicure. The spa professionals (Sheri, Jaymee and Kimberly) each took extra time with Robin and went out of their way to connect with her, asking about her friends, family and cat. Robin got to choose the scents used for her massage and facial and even sang some favorite songs with her manicurist Sheri. After each service, Robin would come up to me and point to the employee exclaiming: “She’s my friend!” I had never seen Robin beaming with so much joy and happiness! At the end of her spa experience, the woman at the front desk asked what her favorite part of the day was. “The whole thing!” Robin replied enthusiastically.

rw spa2When I told Robin I would be writing about her day at the spa, I asked her if she had anything to say. She overwhelmingly responded: “Thank you very much!” It was clear that Robin wanted me to share her gratitude to the wonderful donors who made her dream come true at Reach for Ralph. It was rewarding to see Robin so happy and appreciative of the experience, As a Hammer employee, I too am grateful for the donors who continually make special opportunities and dreams come true for individuals like Robin.

We hope you join us at this year’s Reach for Ralph on Thursday, July 23!

The Hammer Nurse: Serving Above and Beyond

By Cathie Wood, Director of Health Services

Cathie Wood

Cathie writing her blog while enjoying the scenery in Savannah, GA.

During National Nurses’ Week, I pause to reflect on my nursing career and first year at Hammer. I’m drawn to thoughts of why, more than 20 years ago, I made the decision to work in this profession. I was a DSP in one of the first intermediate care facilities (ICF) in Massachusetts, and I realized I had a passion for serving people. My work as a DSP was rewarding, but I wanted to do something more to advocate for the people I served. Looking at our ICF team, I felt the nurse’s role was the most capable of making significant change in the quickest amount of time. My course was set.

A few years later, I was finally a nurse; however, because of life’s circumstances, I was unable to work in the developmental disabilities services field. So, I worked for several large organizations and always found ways to balance person centered connections that were important to me with business demands that were important for the company. My goal always was, and still is, to help people have the best experience possible during their time of need. Working for these large companies gave me certain customer service and person centered health care skills. It was satisfying, but ever since starting at Hammer almost a year ago, I have a renewed sense of fulfillment, joy and satisfaction without end. I also believe this has translated into a better overall experience for my team of six nurses and, most importantly, the individuals I server.

Nurses_smallSpeaking of my team, they are amazing. At Hammer, I know the nurses go far beyond the call of duty every day. Actually, I’ve noticed that ALL Hammer staff dedicate themselves to giving the best support and care to every person they encounter each day. I’ve heard phrases about “work family” used in in almost every place I’ve been employed, but I’ve never truly seen it in action until joining the Hammer Family. Our dedication is certainly to the men and woman we support, but it’s also to the people we work alongside. I see in my team a combined effort and shared passion for our work that provides a quality of life not measured in dollars, but in life well lived.

From my perspective, I see Hammer’s nurses providing the highest level of care. They show me every day that they are willing to put in the extra effort to ensure that the people we support get the very best. The nursing team is a unique and valued asset at Hammer. This team brings a level of education, experience, commitment, compassion and care that is unmatched anywhere. Their ability to collaborate with teams of primary care providers, medical specialists, a variety of therapists, dentists, pharmacists, dieticians, case workers, insurance companies, families, program managers and direct support staff, per individual they support, is incredible.

HAMMER 6.20.14 122The active, hands on approach Hammer’s nurses take allows them to build relationships with those we serve, which ultimately leads to higher quality care. Hammer’s nursing team provides complex medical advice and education, using a variety of resources and real-life examples, to help staff at our 46 home and apartment programs understand what they need to do and why they need to do it. The nurses give personal care as well as triage to equip staff with the skill and confidence they need to do their job if the unexpected happens. Every day, the nurses positively affect the health and overall quality of life of roughly 275 men and women. Through person-centered communication, timely and accurate nursing assessments, safe medication administration, monitoring, intervention, education, advocacy, technical skills and a host of other duties, the nursing team continuously enables each person they care for to live a healthy, safe and full life.

I believe we are surrounded by extraordinary acts all the time, and I have been fortunate enough to witness some of these moments through the nurses on my team. Simply put, Hammer nurses rock!

The ADA Turns 25

By Devin Harrington, Communication Specialist

25year-ada-fnl

In just under three months, we will officially celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On one hand, it’s hard to believe that 25 years has already passed since the July 26, 1990 signing into law of the ADA. On the other hand, it’s crazy to think that this crucial piece of legislation is only 25 years old…Hammer Residences has been around nearly four times that long! Nonetheless, on Sunday July 26, 2015, we will take time to celebrate how far we have come and reflect on where we should/need to go in the next 25 years.

On a state level, the Minnesota State Council on Disability will be holding an event on the ADA’s actual 25th anniversary at the MN History
Center. The day will be full of activities, entertainment and opportunities for artists to showcase their talents. It is meant for anyone and everyone connected to the disability community and promises to be an inclusive, fun day for all.

At Hammer Residences, we have a few projects in the works to mark this momentous occasion. One such initiative is our “25 Champions of the ADA” video project. Each day in July, leading up to the 26th, we will feature a one minute video of a Hammer employee (DSP to CEO to Program Manager) sharing how/why their role in disability services makes them an advocate of the ADA and its principles. Our goal is to recognize the depth and variety of individuals it takes to help those we serve live their lives to the fullest.

Devin and Tony 2Another project Hammer is rolling out is a public awareness campaign that we are calling “#BeyondDisabilities.” Through the use of social media, we want to inspire individuals with disabilities, their family members and friends, and anyone in the disability services field to share thoughts and stories on what it means to live beyond disabilities. We are using the ADA’s 25th anniversary as a jumping off point, and encourage everyone to start hashtagging #BeyondDisabilities whenever there is something to share. Hopefully, this campaign will continuously generate meaningful conversation.

However you choose to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA, remember that without the advocacy of many brave individuals, we would not have anything to celebrate or from which to build. And, without the continued advocacy of courageous people with and without disabilities, we would not be able to continue our work toward true equality and inclusion.

Double Feature: We’re in This Together

Part I

By Deb Krug, Direct Support Professional

Passionate and creative are the two words that best describe me. I have found that these characteristics serve me well in my work at Hammer.

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Three years ago, I began working for Hammer as a Direct Support Professional at Lake Place. I was looking for something to enhance myself and provide personal growth. I have been working with District #287 as a teacher and Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) instructor, but needed something more to really make my life complete.  Serving 18 -21 year olds in the transition program, I knew working at Hammer would give me the chance to see how the transition skills I teach actually apply in real life. So, after working at Hammer for a couple years, I approached Director of Training and Education Cate Saracen-Peters about CPI classes. She jumped on the opportunity, and within a couple months, I became a CPI instructor for Hammer!

The cornerstone of CPI is the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention™ program, which is considered the worldwide standard for crisis prevention and intervention training. Its core philosophy is to provide care, welfare, safety, and security for everyone involved. CPI has taught me proven strategies for safely resolving situations when confronted by anxious, hostile, or violent behavior, while protecting the therapeutic relationships with those in my care. I have adopted this philosophy in both my professional and personal lives. My passion for this is strong and is rooted in person-centered thinking. 

I am truly honored to be a part of the Hammer family and am driven to teach all Hammer employees how to de-escalate potential crises. I feel compelled to help them grow and understand the importance of relationship building during possible crisis situations. Through innovative ideas and the established techniques of CPI, my end goal is always to improve the support we provide to amazing individuals we serve. And, it really helps when we have such quality, well-trained staff.

Family Ed logoI believe in the power of communication and how it impacts the people we serve.  Together as a team, we can move forward with whatever situations arise and find positive outcomes to negative implications.  I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with family members and guardians at next week’s Family Ed Forum. Together we can do this!

Part II

By Eric Sage, Credentialing Coordinator and Program Manager

According to the MN Department of Health it is estimated that 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). So, I wasn’t surprised when Hammer’s Training and Education Department told me they would like to have a focus on AD at the Family Education Forum this year. Like most states, Minnesota has struggled with the growing demand for services as autism diagnoses have soared in the past decade.  Treatments like Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are often well beyond the means of most families, and many insurers refuse to cover them. So what do we do? At Hammer, we acknowledge that our staff teams and families will need additional trainings and support to best serve the individuals we care for so deeply.

Sage, Eric.jpgI’ve been at Hammer for almost six years now, and I’ve worked with several individuals with varying diagnoses. I’ve tried multiple strategies to achieve different goals, and I look forward to sharing some of these coping mechanisms and skill building techniques during the autism focused break out session. I will also be sharing information on ASD’s effects on the educational, social, family, and professional aspects of individuals living with autism. It’s important that we come together as a team and realize the importance of partnering together to best support each other and most importantly the individual.

As Cate Saracen-Peters said in Rich Roots Grow a Learning Partnership: “I thought it best to include this “back to basics” approach with a conversational format designed to re-emphasize the importance of connection and the power of sharing through stories.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement and look forward to seeing many family members and guardians at next Thursday’s forum.

The Travel Bug

By Kim Gharrity, Hammer Donor and Volunteer

sandy 2Monty Python comedian and actor Michael Palin recently quipped: “Once the travel bug bites, there’s no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” I’m pretty sure Hammer Travel volunteer Sandy Hongerholt has been bitten and smitten by the same bug!

Did you even know that Hammer has an in-house travel agency? Since 2008, Hammer Travel, LLC has been a subsidiary service of Hammer Residences, Inc. It provides travel opportunities for people with developmental disabilities that are unique, safe and enjoyable. Sandy has been a volunteer on many of these trips over the last two years.

Sandy has been familiar with Hammer for many years. She is co-guardian of her 52 year-old cousin Dean, who is one of four men living at a Hammer home in Wayzata. Amazingly, this group of guys has lived together for more than 15 years! Despite this long time association with Hammer, it’s only been in the last few years that she’s had the flexibility to travel.

On every trip there is one paid Hammer staff member who acts as the trip leader, and then there are as many additional volunteers as needed to keep the ratio of traveler to staff at four to one. After a trip is scheduled, the trip leader and volunteers get together with Tom Ryan, the Director of Hammer Travel, for a pre-trip meeting to discuss the itinerary and assess other needs and possible interests at the upcoming destination. Sandy has taken many trips with Hammer Travel since her first one to the Wisconsin Dells in the summer of 2013.  Others trips include two to Hawaii, two to Alaska, one to Florida, one to Las Vegas, one to a dude ranch in Texas and two Disney cruises. Yikes, I have jet lag just writing this!

Sandy

Sandy loves going on these trips, helping out as needed and having just as much fun as everyone else. She says the best part for her is seeing these vacationers realize their travel dreams and be given the opportunity to explore the world in a way they may not otherwise have been able. She has made lasting friendships on these trips and keeps in touch with many of her co-travelers afterwards. As a matter of fact, she continues to get together with Dawn who lives in a Hammer home and was her roommate on one of the Alaskan trips.  Sandy and Dawn have gone out for dinner together, taken walks by the lake, gone shopping, gotten manicures, visited the library and just hung out.

As a Flight Attendant, I know the thrill and excitement these trips must bring to all involved and also recognize how grateful Hammer must be for Sandy’s contribution.  What an invaluable, selfless blessing she is to these globetrotters by helping them realize Hammer’s primary mission … to experience life to its fullest!