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Jacob Stewart, of Yankton, was the recipient of the 2021 Exceptional Employee Award
presented by the South Dakota Conference on Developmental Disabilities. Ben Hanten, of Ben’s
Brewing Company, was the recipient to the 2021 Exceptional Employer Award. This was a first ever, State of South Dakota Conference of Development Disabilities. Nominations from across the state were submitted in these two categories. Both Jacob and Ben were honored in Sioux Falls on
September 29, 2021.
Jacob started working at Dairy Queen in March of 2016, when he was in high school. General Manger, Greg Enright, has this to say about Jacob: “Jacob is a valued member of our Dairy Queen family. He always comes to work with a smile on his face and makes others happy when they are around him. He’s always happy and this rubs off on others. Jacob is able to make his coworkers laugh and is always a hard worker. He is reliable, very nice to others and never complains when asked to do something. Jacob just gets it done with a smile on his face. We really wish that we had a lot more employees as great as Jacob. “ When Jacob is asked how he likes his job, he will often answer, “I love my job! Some people don’t like to go to work, but I do!”
Ben Hanten was nominated by ABS Employment Specialists Jane Wuestewald and Heather Budihas. They had this to say about Ben: We have worked with Ben since 2010 and he has been such an asset to ABS. He has opened his business to us so that we could do job assessments to assess people’s skills and abilities. He has also hired many people that we support. When he has an opening, he has reached out to us and asked if we have anybody interested in a job with him. Ben is always open to problem solving and willing to make accommodations. He is receptive to working with job coaches as well as helping them to brainstorming ideas and always reaches out when there are concerns that need to be worked through. Ben’s expectations are the same whether a person has a disability or not. He has also been very open with the Yankton Community on sharing his positive experiences with hiring people with
disabilities and to focus on what a person is able to do and not on what they might not be able to do.
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