Rooted and Rising; Growing Together-Black Hills Works Foundation’s 2021 Annual Recognition Gala

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 8:39 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -Every year at this time, the Black Hills Works Foundation celebrates four incredible individuals with disabilities who remind us what is possible with hard work, hope, and determination. This year is no exception!

Our 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award honorees – Gwyn Whitmore, Nathaniel Miller, Patrick Sabrowski, and Tonia Lipp– have each made incredible contributions to their workplaces and our community. We are “Rooted and Rising: Growing Together” as we celebrate the lifetime achievements of these four honorees. We applaud their remarkable resilience, and that of their 600 peers with disabilities, their staff, and our entire community over the past year. The 2021 Annual Recognition Gala has been reimagined this year to ensure the honorees continued safety.

The community is still a vital part of this celebration! Instead of selling tickets, Black Hills Works Foundation invites members of the community to participate by giving a donation in honor of Gwyn, Nathan, Patrick, or Tonia. It is because of the generosity of our community that Gwyn, Nathan, Patrick and Tonia have thrived, and they want the same for their friends. They know how fortunate they are to be able to work and earn a fair wage, with the help of Black Hills Works.


  • Gwyn is a hardworking young lady who lives independently in her own Black Hills Works apartment. She is thriving! She loves her job at Servall and takes great pride in her home, which she keeps clean and adorned with Celtic decorations. Gwyn works hard to stay fit by joining Black Hills Works’ fitness challenges and taking staff-led cooking classes. She is also an active member of the A-Team, taking great pride in being an advocate for herself and her peers with disabilities.


  • Nathan is a friendly guy with a quiet personality and great attitude about life. He is employed at Ellsworth Air Force Base at Raider Café, where he has been recognized as Employee of the Month four times for his work ethic and efficiency. Nathan is also an incredible athlete. He’ll even be representing South Dakota at the Special Olympics USA Games in 2023! In his spare time, he enjoys video games, playing with his dog, Molly, and helping his mom around the house.


  • Patrick’s smile says it all! He loves life and has a way of lighting up the room. He has been a valued employee at Monument Health for nearly a decade, and is also an incredible Special Olympics’ athlete. Patrick and his father are participants in our Shared Living program, which allows Patrick to receive supports in his family home. As a result, Patrick’s communication, safety awareness, and even cooking skills have improved significantly!


  • For her entire life, Tonia has defied stereotypes and demonstrates what people with different abilities are capable of. Although legally blind, she was gainfully employed for many years at Ellsworth Air Force Base, where she earned several service awards. She has been happily married to her husband, Don, for 20 years. They raised a daughter, Sam, and own their home. They also enjoy collecting, including Tonia’s Batman collection! Happily retired, she spends her days creating beautiful art, to gift and sell.

We are thankful for our outstanding community, and you are a part of it! Because of your support, we are rooted, rising, and growing together! For more information, please visit or contact Carrie Moser at 605-718- 6207 or via email at .

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