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AWARE Ink Newsletter

Highlights of the 2023 UCC Awards Banquet

We are excited to bring you the highlights from the recent Unconditional Care (UCC) Principles Awards Banquet, held June 15, 2023, at the Copper King Hotel in Butte, Montana. This year's banquet was a celebration of dedication, compassion and the unwavering commitment of our AWARE team members. The event was filled with warmth, appreciation and heartfelt recognition of the outstanding individuals who embody our principles.

The evening kicked off with a 1920s themed happy hour, providing an opportunity for everyone to mingle and share stories of their impactful work. As 6 p.m. approached, everyone gathered around beautifully decorated tables to enjoy prime rib and lemon-herb chicken.

The program officially commenced with opening remarks from Matt Bugni, AWARE CEO. He expressed his profound gratitude and pride in announcing the recipients of the 2023 UCC Principle awards. These awards acknowledge individuals who have exemplified our principles and demonstrated their commitment to the people we serve.


Up next, Traci Shinabarger, AWARE clinical director, provided an entertaining overview of AWARE’s UCC Principles and described what each principle has meant to her during the past year. She further added to the excitement with a personal playlist, which contained theme songs for each of the principles. Be sure you watch the recap of our Facebook Live stream here!


Then AWARE service directors gathered near the stage to take turns announcing awards for the winners within their services lines.


Without further ado, the 2023 UCC Award winners included:

  1. Building on strengths is the key to success: Stephen Berry, residential coordinator in Anaconda.

  2. We take on – and stick with – the hardest challenges: Mariah Satterwhite, SDMI case manager in Great Falls.

  3. We are agents of change: Rachel McMahon, AET program coordinator in Billings

  4. Everything is normal until proven otherwise: Cady McIntosh, habilitation technician in Great Falls.

  5. Families are our most important resource: Georgina Jones, family support specialist in Missoula

  6. I'm OK, you're OK: Jay Sevores, treatment service technician in Anaconda.

  7. It takes a team: Jeriah Benevides, habilitation technician in Butte.

  8. Our connection with our communities is vital: Michelle Bishop (in loving memory).

  9. We strive to the highest quality of care: Stacey Kummer, PACT RN in Helena.

  10. Lighten up and Laugh: Lucille Riddle, family advocate in Butte.

  11. Independent Spirit Award: Derrick Emerson, client in Billings.

  12. George Groesbeck Award: Jim Kambich, BSB chief of staff in Butte.

  13. Employee of the Year: Paul Abel, residential coordinator in Anaconda.

Throughout the evening, each award was presented with sincere appreciation and thoughtful recognition. Matt Bugni, along with Francine Cooper, AWARE CFO, and other team members, personally handed out plaques and flowers to the recipients. The atmosphere was filled with joy and gratitude as recipients posed for pictures with the awards.


The UCC Principles Awards Banquet was not only a celebration of individual achievements but also a testament to the collective dedication and commitment of our entire AWARE community. It served as a reminder of the impact we can make when we work together, supporting and uplifting one another in our mission to provide unconditional care to those we serve.


We extend our utmost congratulations to all the award recipients and express our deep appreciation for their incredible contributions. Their unwavering commitment to the UCC principles is an inspiration to us all.


As we reflect on this memorable evening, let us continue to carry the spirit of the UCC principles in our hearts, both within our AWARE community and in our interactions with the wider world. Together, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of the individuals and families we serve.

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