Cincinnati, OH, September 20, 2017
On September 28, Easterseals will reveal a newly updated Walnut Hills facility that will better streamline our programs and amplify our commitment to community-based services. Many hands and hearts came together to make this possible, but one person and organization stands out as going above and beyond what we ever could have anticipated. So we recognize Greg Hammond and Hixson Architecture Engineering Interiors as our September 2017 Easterseals Hero.
Hixson has been connected to Easterseals for many years, a relationship that started in 1994 when the President and CEO Wick Ach joined the Board of Directors. Pam Green, President and CEO of Easterseals, recalls the “invaluable design and architectural services” which Hixson provided when Easterseals first moved its main offices and packaging and logistics programs to the Walnut Hills location on Gilbert Avenue. Even then, the move was a way to better connect with the community, bringing services to a more centralized location.
Hixson’s expertise was equally crucial during the grand opening of Building Value, which originally shared space in the Walnut Hills location. As the social enterprise grew, Hixson was an important resource in moving to Building Values’ current retail location in Northside.
“Whether it is helping acquire donated goods and services to keep down expenses, supporting special events, or donating event tickets for Easterseals staff appreciation, Hixson has been integral to our long-term success,” says Pam Green.
While Greg Hammond only just joined the Easterseals Board of Directors in 2016, his impact has already been profound. He was introduced to Easterseals through his colleague and former Easterseals board member Tom Hellmann. Hammond explains that after attending events with Hellmann, “I was able to see the difference that Easterseals makes in the lives of the people they serve. It was a great experience that drove me to want to find a way to get involved.”
He continued to attend special events like ReUse-apalooza (his lip-sync performance with his daughters was not to be missed!), and he has been particularly moved by the YouthBuild program. He brings colleagues onto the YouthBuild worksite to provide insight and mentorship, and volunteers his own thoughts and ideas as the youth team renovate an Evanston home. He, of course, humbly credits the program itself for inspiring him to give.
"The sense of pride and accomplishment that these young men and women show as they talk about the project they have completed and the skills they have learned is very special,” says Hammond. “The benefit for me is to see the youth develop lifelong skills and values.”
The connection he feels to YouthBuild stems from his own background. “I greatly benefited from an organization in my youth that supported me and my family when we needed it most…I do my part to find the best way I can to support youth within our community.”
Meanwhile, Clark Earick, Vice President of Organizational Excellence and much of the movement behind the most recent Walnut Hills renovation, cannot praise Hammond enough. He looks at the scope of the project—converting large, unused multi-purpose rooms and warehouse space into welcoming and functional offices, training rooms, and communal meeting spaces—and firmly believes it could not have happened without Hammond’s guidance.
“His team created several versions and rounds of drawings,” lists Earick, “helped us through the permitting process, personally helped us navigate the construction process, helped us secure material donations and fiscal donations for specific aspects of the project, and provided members from his teams to make designs and decisions.”
As Easterseals prepares to unveil its updated facility in a September 28 open house, we are deeply grateful to the involvement of Greg Hammond and Hixson. These renovations were driven by a desire to better streamline our services and strengthen our commitment to delivering community-based services. By offering an attractive, functional, and welcoming workplace, our community-based team members have a hub where they can connect with colleagues, work comfortably, and meet with other community partners.
It is thanks to long-time relationships like Hixson, and new partners like Greg Hammond that Easterseals is able to serve the Greater Cincinnati community in a streamlined, integrated and inclusive way. For that, they are Easterseals Heroes.