Bob Riemersma of Sheldon

Iowa APSE board member Catlin Curry poses with Bob Riemersma of Sheldon during an awards dinner.

SHELDON—Bob Riemersma, an employee with Village Northwest Unlimited in Sheldon, is the 2019 recipient of the Iowa APSE Professional Award.

The award is given out by the Iowa chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First, a national organization committed to improving and expanding integrated employment opportunities, services, and outcomes for people experiencing disabilities.

Riemersma received the award at a ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Sheraton West Des Moines hotel. He was nominated by Village cabinet and managers who collectively described Riemersma in their submission:

“Bob has been with Village Northwest Unlimited for almost 40 years and has always worked in the vocational setting. Bob’s biggest accomplishment has been his ability to transition his skills of being a job coach from a sheltered work environment to the community work environment. He has done a tremendous job with this transition and has helped over 25 individuals to be successfully employed in the community.

“In 2018, Bob was recognized as VNU’s Staff Person of the Year in large part due to his success in transitioning to a successful community program. Bob is able to see the abilities of each person he works with and then customize the tasks for that person to help them be as successful as possible. Failure is not an option and Bob will do everything he can to support those he works with.”

The submission continues:

“Bob is great at communicating the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals he supports to other team members so that the team can work together to ensure the success of the people being supported. Bob gets great joy in helping to build the job skills of those he supports. His ultimate goal is to build their confidence in hopes that they can be more independent and functional in their work.”

The Village is nationally recognized as one of the premier providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

The Village builds successful lives for 180 individuals by providing opportunities and choices in residential, vocational and social programs while fulfilling its mission of providing purpose, privacy and dignity.