The annual dinner hosted by Paladin at Blue Chip Casino Fremont Event Center is something staff and participants look forward to all year. Coming together to dress up for a fine dining experience and a night of celebration is just a small part of what keeps Paladin going strong year after year. The ballroom quickly filled with participants, staff, and sponsors alike, all smiling, all night.
Paladin began serving children, seniors, and people with disabilities in 1967, and has celebrated each of them since. President and CEO Bill Trowbridge has been working hard to ensure the growth of Paladin and knows that celebrating his clients and staff is a big part of that.
“We really focus tonight on celebrating some of the achievements of our clients throughout the year, and recognizing some of the employees and staff we have for some of the great work they’ve done,” Trowbridge said. “This is the core of what we do. Paladin is really focused on bettering the lives of people in the community and as we continue to grow we are always looking for opportunities and ways to help people.”
Development and Marketing Officer, Erin Mooneyhan, knows how much the clients and staff look forward to the dinner every year. The excitement and pure joy they feel getting dressed up and dancing makes it all worth it.
“It’s hard to always see the big picture in day-to-day operations. I think events like this are an opportunity for us to really look at the growth and accomplishments that our participants and staff have made throughout the year,” Mooneyhan said. “It’s nice to give them that recognition.”
Andie Wolfinsohn has been a member on Paladin’s board for more years than she can count. She joined the organization because her daughter was a part of Paladin’s job services and has coached many of Paladin’s participants on the track and field Special Olympics team.
“Organizations like Paladin are important because otherwise our participants and our children would be staying at home and watching TV,” Wolfinsohn said. “The individuals and the staff are the best part- I enjoy them and we have fun together. I love it.”
Richard Draves has been a client of Paladin’s for 30 years and wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Staying involved in the community plus a variety of activities that Paladin offers are what made all of that time worth it.
“This is special because we only do this sort of thing once a year and we get to see people we don’t normally get to see on a regular basis,” Draves said. “I just want the community to come get to know us.”
Joseph Cotton joined Paladin seven years ago when he was having trouble finding a job. This year was his second year giving a welcome speech in front of the audience, and he couldn’t have been more excited.
“Paladin is very nice and it feels very good to be here,” Cotton said. “I have friends here and that makes me love Paladin all the more.”
Only a few months ago Joshua Mosley joined Paladin because his friends thought it would be a great idea, and they were right. Mosley has gotten involved in many of the activities that Paladin offers and plans on staying for a long time.
“I enjoy hanging with my friends and participating in a lot of the clubs that my friends started,” Mosley said. “A lot of my friends are here and I enjoy getting dressed up so it feels pretty good to be here.”
Jeff Olds has been a part of Paladin for a long time and appreciates everything they do for him and for the community. He works on special projects and explores different things he enjoys doing, and he recommends Paladin to everyone.
“They take care of people with disabilities and go to people’s houses and help them with medications and everything like that,” Olds said. “I like the company, I like to be here, and it’s a great place to work.”
Freya Churchwell is an employment specialist for Paladin and helps participants find jobs and keep jobs where they can excel and grow.
“My favorite part is working with the clients and watching that light bulb turn on,” Churchwell said. “I love watching them learn and discover, ‘Oh, I know how to do that now!’”
Tim Surber is the eldest son of Richard Surber, the founder of Paladin. He remembers his father telling him that he started Paladin because as a special education teacher he wanted something for his students to do after graduation. So he and a friend started Paladin and soon began reinvigorating the special ed program into what Paladin is today.
“It does my heart good to know that my dad’s work is going on 16 years after he passed away because it takes a village to do this,” Surber said. “This is a day for dad, this is his vision and I couldn’t be any happier watching Trowbridge making the company grow.”
For more information go to www.paladin.care.