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Outstanding Service Achievement Award Nomination
The Outstanding Service Achievement Award will be presented to a paid support staff person who has positively affected the lives of individuals served by an InterHab member agency.
NOMINEE: Brandon Callihan
ORGANIZATION: OCCK, Inc.
Brandon Callihan has worked at OCCK, Inc. for the past 16 years. He came to the company with little to no experience working with people with disabilities, but had an extensive customer service background. Over the years, he has transitioned from merely focusing on customer service to being an advocate, a groundbreaker and an overall champion for people with disabilities. His heart and passion are on display each and every day.
A lifetime resident of Concordia, Brandon wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, and so he started his career at OCCK as a Residential Trainer. From there, he transitioned to being a Life Skills Trainer, a Team Leader for a single residential house, a Team Leader for all community living in Concordia, and then became a Team Leader for all community living in both Concordia and Salina, before becoming the Coordinator of Services, his current role. With each position at the company, Brandon has given his all and earned the trust and support of those around him. He has grown exponentially over the years and has developed into an integral part of the service team at OCCK. He pushes the line and thinks outside of the box when providing services.
Imagine someone you could rely on at any time. That’s Brandon. He is ready to serve day and night and continually responds to needs in a variety of ways. He takes calls at all hours, both for staff and for persons served. He goes where he is needed and navigates through issues and looks for solutions. He is great at pulling in different providers and building support teams that work together on a case. He looks at every possible scenario that could be happening in order to create the best plan. He has great skill at planning for transitions through a period of time. He lays out the plan for, and with, the person he is serving. Communication is his specialty and he is amazing at putting customers and families at ease. He has a way of talking with people, calming them, explaining, and putting their minds at ease. He admits failures, but just as easily finds a solution generally by asking “How can we fix this?” and “What would you like to see happen?” His calm and cool demeanor is a great asset. Brandon talks to people, to families, to legislators, doctors and brings everyone on board. He is the very definition of an advocate.
Because of his ability to coordinate and solve complicated situations, Brandon has also been asked to work with extremely complex cases – cases that no other provider knows how to handle. These cases come from across the state of Kansas as referrals from MCOs. He works with some of the most challenging people, where others would struggle. A recent case involved moving a customer from another area of the state to Concordia. This person had severe health needs, including a brain injury. Brandon worked around the clock to set up an apartment, and coordinate a whole set of services, including working with doctors, specialists, agencies, telehealth and others. This customer now feels at home and is the happiest he has ever been. He has even been able to reduce his medications. His family is super happy, and it’s all because of Brandon and his unique skills and abilities. It’s stories like these that show Brandon’s dedication and outstanding service.
When he’s not focused on serving people, Brandon is always looking for new learning opportunities, both for himself and for his team. He has been a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the past five years. He is also certified in the ADA and helps with community ADA compliance issues. He is a trusted resource for other agencies, not just OCCK. He has also taught classes around goal setting, working with people and communication. Continually researching trends and looking for new ideas and techniques is another strong suit of Brandon’s. Working in rural Kansas, services aren’t as easily or readily available, so having creativity and research is key. Brandon branches out, attending trainings and seminars, finding what’s new and what’s working for people in other areas. He then uses that information to build programs of his own that work. He shares information with those that he’s working with, again with the person at the center, so everyone’s on the same page and everyone’s happy with the results.
We are so thankful that Brandon is a part of our team. His leadership, dedication, service, and communication allow OCCK to serve people in the best way possible. His ability to push the line for people, to not be limited by in-the-box thinking, and constantly expanding boundaries has opened doors and created service plans that work. Brandon lives by a philosophy of “if that’s what the person wants, then that’s what he/she is going to get.” He is a true advocate for the people he serves and he’s not afraid to try. He’s not ok with no. It’s for these reasons that we’ve nominated Brandon Callihan for the Outstanding Service Achievement Award.