HUMANITARIAN — Cathy Merkel, right, poses for a photo recently with David, a custodian at the Crouse Community Center after she received the Arc of Madison Cortland’s Founders Humanitarian Award. Merkel works closely with David on a daily basis, officials said, and provides support to people with disabilities through employment opportunities and other assistance. (Photo submitted)

Arc of Madison Cortland presents humanitarian award

Published Jul 28, 2018 at 4:00pm

ONEIDA — The Arc of Madison Cortland proudly presented the Founders Humanitarian Award to Cathy Merkel who works at Crouse Community Center in Morrisville.

Merkel was unable to attend The Arc of Madison Cortland Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony on June 7 so with the help of executive director, DJ Raux, of Crouse Community Center, The Arc of Madison Cortland delivered the award to her.

Merkel not only supports people with disabilities through employment opportunities but she offers assistance to people in need to help them succeed beyond their workplace, the Arc said in an announcement.

“Cathy is committed to making sure the people she works with not only succeed in their employment, but they succeed in life.” “In fact, she looks out for everyone’s health, safety and best interests,” said Ashley Hillenbrand, director of employment services at The Arc of Madison Cortland.  

Throughout the years, Merkel has offered emotional support during challenging times in her employee’s lives, has helped find safe housing, has taught them vocational and life skills and has literally, saved lives, the Arc added.

“I love my job, the people I work with, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything” stated Merkel. “It is an honor to receive this award,” the award-recipient added.

The Arc of Madison Cortland said it is grateful for Merkel’s commitment to the employees she supervises and for her dedication, compassion and for enriching the lives of people with disabilities.

“The Founders Humanitarian Award is one of the most distinguished awards presented by our agency, and we thank Cathy for embodying the mission and guiding principles of The Arc of Madison Cortland,” said Jack Campbell, executive director at The Arc of Madison Cortland.