It’s not just what she does but the impact she makes on those benefiting from her work that makes Judy Newsome the Town of Cary’s 2016 Employee of the Year. Driven by a passion to serve Cary residents with disabilities, staff and citizens agree that Newsome has elevated the Town’s specialized recreation and inclusion programs by creating unique opportunities for participants and building a network with each family and caregiver. As Employee of the Year, Newsome receives a plaque, $1,000, and will be recognized by the Cary Town Council at the December 8 Town Council meeting.
Newsome, 52, has 14 years of service with the Town of Cary, most recently holding the title of Specialized Recreation and Inclusion specialist. Over the last three years, Newsome has dedicated her time to developing programming opportunities for people of all ages with disabilities – about 60 events, courses, and workshops per Program Guide, to be exact – as well as finding ways to include the same population in traditional Town programming and events. Newly-created specialized recreation programs include: zip line adventures, cooking classes, teambuilding fun at the Bond Park Ropes Course, Easter Eggstravaganza, and an annual fall fashion show; additionally, she’s organized the annual Share and Care, a resource fair linking families to other local agencies who provide related services. She’s created workshops for families and/or caregivers, giving tips and strategies on a variety of topics like vacationing with a child with disabilities, and caring for yourself when you’re caring for others. To support Cary staff, Newsome has developed special training that highlights tools and techniques so that everyone can feel more confident when serving this special population. She also coordinates and recruits volunteers for the Wake County Special Olympics.
In her nomination, staff dubbed Newsome the “voice for those in Cary with disabilities,” and commented on her accessibility and accountability “so that each person can thrive and prosper in their own unique way.” Parents commented on the new experiences their children would otherwise have missed out on and how it’s changed them emotionally and socially.
“The work Judy does is incredibly honorable, powerful, and affirming. I greatly admire her and appreciate all that she’s accomplishing for our citizens and our organization,” said Town Manager Sean R. Stegall.
Today’s announcement was made at the Town’s Annual Employee Recognition Luncheon at the Herb Young Community Center, during which over 240 staff members were recognized for reaching service milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and for the first time ever, 40 years of service. Employee of the Year nominees—16 total—were also recognized: Joseph Seth Burleson, Water System Technician; Loren Cone, Assistant Fire Chief; Rick Cratch, Water Treatment Plant Maintenance Supervisor; Mark Johns, Operations and Program Supervisor – Environmental Programs; Andrea Johnson, Accounting Supervisor; Paul Kuhn, Facilities Design and Construction Manager; Susan Legall, Sr. Utility Collections Representative; Dan Matthys, Development Liaison; Maria Ni, Operations Support Assistant; Anna Readling, Sr. Planner; Davis Reynolds, Water Distribution Field Supervisor; Brian Stark, Inspections and Permits Operations Manager; David Thomas, Sr. Code Enforcement Official III; Betsie Winokur, Public Works and Utilities Operations Support Analyst; and Terry Yates, Technology Infrastructure and Network Manager.
The Town of Cary’s Employee of the Year program was established in 1989 to recognize employees who consistently perform well beyond what the job description requires. Nominees are consistently courteous and helpful to others, and they strive to improve themselves. Many nominations included accolades from Cary citizens. For more, search “Employee of the Year” at www.townofcary.org.