Barb and Bill Hancher know there’s something special about those who care for individuals with disabilities. Bill’s son Timothy Hancher was born with severe developmental and physical disabilities. Timothy was raised at home until he was 11 years old, the Hanchers turned to others for help. At that time, Timothy was enrolled in a childcare facility in Logansport, where he received excellent care. The Hanchers would then move to Huntington.
It was in Huntington that Bill was introduced to Pathfinder Services, met John Niederman, Pathfinder Services CEO at the time, and joined the board shortly thereafter. Frequently, on his way home from work, Bill would stop by the Pathfinder Services Workshop. As he had opportunities to interact with the clients served by Pathfinder Services, he continued to be impressed by the professionals who worked with the clients. During this time, Ruth Michael was hired as the first Executive Director of the Pathfinder Foundation. Through Ruth’s contacts, the Hanchers learned about the various opportunities the Community Foundation offered donors to give back to their community.
Timothy Hancher passed away in 1997 at the age of 27. In 2007, the Hanchers, along with other family members, established the Harold & Pauline Bailey Memorial Community Fund at the Community Foundation. This fund honors the legacy of Barb’s parents and helps fund the Make a Difference Grants that the Community Foundation gives out each year. A few years later, the Hanchers wanted to do something to recognize Pathfinder Services staff members who exceed expectations in their direct services to Pathfinder clients. After establishing criteria and having Niederman’s approval, the Timothy Hancher Direct Services Award was born. Each year a deserving recipient receives a plaque and a $250 cash award for their hard work and dedication.
“We are so grateful for Hanchers’ dedication to supporting Pathfinder employees who go above and beyond their direct support role duties.” Pathfinder Services Chief Development Officer Kasey Davis, “The award is a special honor to those who receive it, and it brings to focus Pathfinder’s dedication to excellence each year at our annual celebration. This is a beautiful way to honor Timothy’s legacy.”
Initially, the award was funded by the Hanchers and other family members who loved the idea of honoring Timothy’s memory by recognizing the remarkable men and women who serve those with disabilities. As the Hanchers thought about the future, they wanted to ensure that the award could honor Timothy’s legacy in perpetuity. So again, they reached out to Pathfinder Services and the Community Foundation. Out of these conversations, the Timothy Hancher Direct Support Service Award Fund was established.
Currently, the fund is a designated pass-through fund at the Community Foundation. Each year, the cost of giving the Timothy Hancher Service Award will be distributed from this fund until there is enough capital in the fund to reach endowment status. When the fund is endowed, it will be structured to cover the expense of giving the award each year in perpetuity.
“The Hancher family continues to be great friends to Huntington County,” said Matt Ditzler, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “We are grateful to be entrusted with this legacy and will cherish the ability to give out grants in Timothy’s memory for many years to come.”
The next Timothy Hancher Direct Service Award will be given out at the Pathfinder Services Annual Banquet on Thursday, April 27th.