Anne Carlsen Center announces Direct Support Professional of the Year Award winners

Two of the DSP workers are in Jamestown.

leo brunelli
Leo Brunelli. Photo courtesy Anne Carlsen Center / Special to The Sun

Three direct support professionals were honored at the North Dakota Association of Community Providers conference at the Delta in Fargo on June 17 as DSPs of the Year. Chris Jones, executive director of the Department of Human Services, and Kirsten Dvorak, CEO of The Arc of North Dakota, presented each award to Anne Carlsen winners Leo Brunelli, Ashley Guthmiller and Danielle Herrold.

Supervisors and managers at Anne Carlsen Center nominate an individual who “goes above and beyond” in his or her job. The categories for which information is submitted include Activities of Accomplishment; Description of a relationship or relationships between the DSP and the individual(s) he/she supports; Examples of individual or group advocacy; Description of Sacrifices, Examples of Creativity of Supports provided, and Examples of how the nominated DSP exemplifies the NADSP Code of Ethics.

“I feel truly blessed to have won," said Brunelli, who is in Jamestown. " It was surreal being on that podium receiving the award and getting a huge hug from Chris Jones, the director of DHS. However, it is truly humbling to know that even though I may have won, there are so many people I work with who are much more deserving of the award. To my fellow coworkers, I believe we are all DSPs of the Year.”

“I want to thank the people who nominated me for this award," said Guthmiller, who is also in Jamestown. "My eight years at the center have truly been incredible. I have learned so much and continue to learn new things every day. It is such an honor to watch our individuals learn new skills and become more independent. am forever grateful for Anne Carlsen, I'll never forget this!"

Herrold, who is in Fargo, said she is grateful to have won the award.


" It is so nice to be recognized! Working for Anne Carlsen has been great and I’m so lucky to be able to make differences in people’s lives with this company," she said.

In addition to those who won the DSP of the Year, Taylor Olson, DSP in Jamestown, and Amy Riskedahl, DSP in Bismarck, were also nominated and received honorable mention.

“When someone asks me what I do for a living, I get super excited and proud to let them know that I work at Anne Carlsen," Olson said. "There isn't too much that compares to the fulfillment I get from working with our clients. I am very honored to be mentioned for this award.”

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