October 1, 2021 |

#NDEAM: Celebrating our Direct Support Professionals!

Summary: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) so we will be spending the month featuring here and on social media amazing employees with disabilities, the businesses in our community who are “Proud Employers of People with DisABILITIES,” and Black Hills Works’ very own direct support professionals.

To start off the month below is an open letter to our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) from Brad Saathoff, CEO of Black Hills Works.  DSPs are our front-line workers who help make employment possible for the people with disabilities they support by helping with transportation, schedules, skill development, moral support and so much more.  We appreciate our DSPs!


Greetings to all of you who are doing our direct support work!

Recently we celebrated National Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week. As an organization, we had some pretty neat things going on to help celebrate you and the important role that you perform for our organization and, more importantly, our community.

I’ve been in awe of the selfless nature of so much of the work you have been doing this year. I realize your jobs are very challenging under the best circumstances. When we factor in what you have been doing through the pandemic, and recently, to help us move towards post-pandemic, that is work that is hard for people outside our industry to fully appreciate.  I am grateful for how you have put your talents and skills to use for others. Probably even more important, I am grateful for how you have put your hearts to work for others. The heart part really separates the great from the okay.

Do I think that the work you are responsible for is more important and valuable to our community than most other work? Yes, I do! I don’t want to be foolish and say nothing else matters, but in the grand scheme of things, you are a darn big deal!! And we should all celebrating you as a nation and community.

Thank you for:

  • Your caring.
  • Your perseverance to put your skills and talents to work.
  • Your resilience.
  • Your selflessness to serve others.
  • Your personal sacrifices this past year.
  • Your commitment to continually growing personally and professionally.
  • Your team work – and understanding that nothing gets done it’s best alone.

And, thank you for being you.

We are blessed to have many high-quality people – quality in your core – serving others for many years. We are also blessed to have many recent high-quality additions to our team to make us even stronger and better equipped to keep moving into post-pandemic and being a model for how people with disabilities live meaningful community-based lives.

Brad Saathoff


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