TRICO executive director speaks at Golden K Club meeting

By Orice Walters

Golden K Club

“Oh, what a beautiful morning” for the last day in June with Dr. Paul Jacobs, Golden K’s June chairman turning the gavel over to Mary Jane Nelson, chairperson for July. Thanks Paul for keeping such good order with this lively group of Retired GK Senior Volunteers.

Several patriotic songs were sung including “America the Beautiful” with Sue Leduc doing her usual wonderful playing on the ivories and Margaret Trudell happily directing every song.

Ben Detterman was happy for the beautiful morning and we were happy to sing “Happy Birthday” to him on that last day of June. Happy birthday to Ronee Greenleaf on July 2.

The Welcome Song was sung for special guest and program speaker Christine Franks Kruppstadt, executive director of Trico Opportunities in Kingsford.

Ron Jouppi, program chairman offered grace and a thought for the day:

“The secret of a good sermon is a good beginning, a good ending, and to have them as close together as possible.”

Bob Bowman was the lucky Pot of Gold winner.

Happy Pedo had many Happy Dollars to read. Mary Jane said it went well for the Niagara Centennial. “Niagara did it up proud over the weekend, lots of fun.” Leon Gospodarek was happy for the good weather for Niagara’s celebration while John Jamar Sr. was happy for sunshine and “no snow.”

The Trudells were happy to have Sue LeDuc play for us and Sue said, happy for this happy group of people who help so many. Thanks Sue for your kind words and piano playing.

The Al Calcari’s are happy for their kids coming for the July 4th weekend.

Marty Waananen had fun helping at his granddaughter Lisa’s wedding in Spokane, Wash. last week.

Harlan Walters gave a brief talk about the annual GK Peanut Fundraiser on Aug. 28 and 29. He asked for volunteers to be team captains for three or four locations. The Peanut Fundraiser is the main source of funding for the GK community programs supported by GK such as the parties and picnic for Special Needs Youth and Children.

Chairman Paul reminded the GK’rs of the picnic at Cowboy Lake on Monday, July 7.

The excellent program was about Trico Opportunities, Inc., a non-profit organization founded in 1968 by local concerned citizens.

Ron Jouppi, GK program chairman, introduced the speaker Christine Kruppstadt.

Christine who is a native of Iron Mountain, along with her husband Adam, moved back to the U.P. and Dickinson County in 1992 to raise her family and continue her professional career. That career along with raising three sons has included executive director of Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce and Dickinson Economic Development Alliance. Others have been instructor at NWTC in Niagara, Wis., and human resources for Cable Constructors Inc.

Her education and community activities, along with serving on the Trico Board of Directors, have prepared her well for assisting persons with disabilities. Prior to her recent appointment as executive director, Trico has had only two other CEOs. Al St. Peter has served as CEO for 43 years.

That’s a lot of history for an organization that started in the basement of a church on Brown Street. Trico has been at its present location on Hooper Street in Kingsford since 2000.

Trico’s mission: to assist persons with disabilities to maximize their abilities and become as self-reliant and self-supporting as possible; achieved through offering vocational rehabilitation and related services.

The goal is to alleviate barriers to employment by assisting participants to successfully enter integrated, competitive employment.

Governed by a board of directors, Trico has 130-150 employees, with about 40 staff, job coaches, etc., serving roughly 90 participants in their programming.

Trico provides vocational assessment, transition services and exploration through Hands On Program; rehabilitation plan development and work adjustment; and job development follows along including help with job readiness, job seeking, job placement, and job retention.

Some of their services to the community include a recycling operation for paper, cardboard, newsprint; wood manufacturing of pallets, shipping containers, picnic tables, signs, and fencing stakes.

As changes take place one new project is the compost project in cooperation with the City of Kingsford.

Partnering with Trico to serve those with disabilities through contracts and referrals into the program via those contracts include WI Vocational Rehabilitation, MI Rehabilitative Service, VA, Commission for the Blind, ISD, and local businesses etc.

Christine answered several questions from GK members. She said most employees have been there 20 years. It is gratifying for her to have the opportunity to enhance the present program and energize program and transitions. Trico is certified by the Department of Labor for wages.

Looking to the future Christine sees potential to build regional collaborative efforts between agencies. And transitions in funding changes, including state funding.

Our thanks to Christine Kruppstadt for informing us about how our area is helping those with disabilities to use their enhanced skills and produce useful products.

The next Monday morning Golden K Club will be a picnic at Cowboy Lake beginning about 10:30 a.m. Coffee and rolls and later a catered picnic. Bring your chairs, yourselves, and maybe a table cloth to share. Don Pedo will be happy to receive your $5. There will be entertainment. Call him today if you want to attend the picnic on July 7.

The Golden Throats sing at Manor Care on July 9 and at the Northwoods Garden Club Strawberry festival on July 13 at the Gazebo on Woodward Avenue.