It took a few moments for Bassfield resident Cheryl Davis to stand to her feet after hearing her name called as Ellisville State School’s “2014 Direct Support Employee of the Year.” Davis, who joined the ESS staff nine years ago, said she was in total shock.
“It came as quite a surprise,” said Davis. “I am very proud to receive such an honor.”
Davis received the honor during the Employee of the Year banquet held March 6 at Ellisville State School. She was among a group of more than 60 ESS employees who had been chosen as Employee of the Month winners in 2014. A special awards committee selected five direct support employees to receive Employee of the Year honors from their various programs or units. The committee, consisting of ESS administrators and directors, then selected an overall winner from the group.
In addition to Davis, the other Top Five winners were Mary Gray, Shubuta; Paul McNair, Ellisville; Linda Williams, New Hebron; and Bonita Flynn, Sandersville.
In introducing Davis as the overall winner, ESS Director Renée Brett said Davis had been selected Employee of the Month three times since being employed at ESS. Brett also said Davis was described by her supervisors as a person with an excellent work ethic.
Photo Caption: Congratulating Ellisville State School’s 2014 Employee of the Year Winners are: (standing from left right) Dr. Kenneth O’Neal, ESS Assistant Director; Rinsey McSwain, ESS Assistant Director; Matt Armstrong, Deputy Executive Director, Mississippi Department of Mental Health and Director, Bureau of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Mississippi Department of Mental Health; Paris Hopson, President of ESS Family and Friends Association; Robert Landrum, Member of Mississippi Board of Mental Health; and Renée Brett, ESS Director. Winners are: (from left to right) Linda Williams, Mary Gray, Cheryl Davis, Bonita Flynn and Paul McNair.
“This employee displays a
cheerful demeanor and seems to really enjoy what she does,” said Brett. “She is
an asset, not only to Pecan Grove Unit, but to Ellisville State School as a
Paris Hopson, president of the ESS Family and Friends Association, added: “You have to be very special and unique in order to take care of our children and loved ones from day to day. You all allow us to be able to do things like go to work without worrying about our loved ones. We know they are in capable hands."
“We may not let you know how much you are appreciated all the time, but please know how much we thank you,” Hopson continued. “On behalf of ESS Family and Friends, I would like to thank you all for the love and care you have given our loved ones.”
Ellisville Mayor Tim Waldrup, Robert Landrum, a member of the Mississippi Board of Mental Health and Matt Armstrong, Deputy Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and the department’s Director of the Bureau of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities also brought words of gratitude and encouragement. The guest speaker for the occasion was Terri Torrence, Chief Administrative Officer for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
Torrence encouraged the employees to continue to strive to be the best that they can be. “Never stop learning,” she said. “Learn all you can about your job and learn others’ jobs…Look for opportunities to do more than what you were hired to do.
“The success of ESS and the Department of Mental Health depends largely on your success,” added Torrence. “I commend each and every one of you for your dedication and hard work to and for those you serve.”
Banquet sponsors included the ESS Family and Friends Association, the ESS Credit Union, the ESS Employee Recognition Fund, Community Bank of Laurel, Elkins Wholesale and International Fire and Safety.