Living – and Thriving – with Disabilities Jon Combs Wins 2019 Imagine Award

Longtime Blue River Services, Inc. consumer Jon Combs was the honored recipient of the 2019 Individual Imagine Award, presented March 2 at Horseshoe Southern Indiana.

Since 2001, The Rauch Foundation has sponsored the Imagine Awards to honor individuals with disabilities who have excelled, and community leaders and businesses that have had a positive impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities in the community.

Jon Combs Receives AwardJon, who lives in Salem and began vocational services with Blue River in 1991, has indeed personified what it means to excel. Whether it’s working in the community, where he has been a bagger at Jay C Food Store in Salem for more than 10 years; attending church; or advocating for his peers at consumer council meetings, Jon has become a vital member of the community. 

“He is a man of high moral values and influences those around him through his solid character,” said Tammy Seitz, Director of Community Resources at Blue River, who nominated Jon for the award. “He has taught his peers, staff and family that perseverance is the key to success, for Jon never stops pursuing his dreams until they are achieved.”

The night was emceed by WHAS radio personality Tony Cruise and took place in Horseshoe’s elegant Showroom, where attendees enjoyed silent and live auctions, raffle drawings, a four-course meal, and the rock band Flame, a New York group of entertainers with disabilities.

Jon was presented the award by John Kraft, member of the Board of Directors at Rauch, Inc.

As he accepted his award, Jon beamed with a sense of achievement. “I told them I was real proud of this,” he told the sold-out crowd of 400 people. “I told them I had a good time for my interview and everything. This is a good time.”

Blue River Services, Inc. President and CEO Daniel J. Lowe, who attended the event with 20 other staff members, was duly proud of Jon’s accomplishment, noting that his success story expounds the passion with which the agency serves families and individuals, particularly those with disabilities.

“Jon is a prime example of why we’re here,” said Daniel J. Lowe, President and CEO of Blue River Services, Inc. “He is living a very happy, fulfilled, positive life – in part because of the services he has received, but also as a result of his hard work and great attitude.”

The event also celebrated the inspiring deeds of Greg Smith, who has worked in group homes for individuals with disabilities since 1986, and Rauch’s Angels, a combination of local motorcycle clubs whose members help raise funds and host get-togethers for Rauch residents.

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