Michael Basso
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
105 Campus Drive
Oneonta, New York 13820
Phone: 607.725.0687

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2022

Springbrook Honors Triumphant Life and Belden Award Recipients, Justine Leonard, Patricia Meinel


Oneonta, NY: Springbrook, a leading provider of supports for people with developmental disabilities honored service recipient, Justine Leonard, and longtime employee, Patricia Meinel, with the organization’s achievement awards on September 22, 2022.

The Springbrook Triumphant Life Award is an annual award intended to honor and give special recognition to a person with a disability who has a relationship with Springbrook. The Triumphant Life Award is an acknowledgment of a person’s attitude and triumphs. The winner of this award inspires others. Their success is clearly evident as the person uses their strengths and natural supports to make their dreams come true.


2022 Triumphant Life recipient, Justine Leonard, has had a relationship with Springbrook for over 20 years. Ms. Leonard is an outgoing and compassionate individual who is committed to her community. She has volunteered at various Otsego County nonprofits including the SPCA, The Lord’s Table, and regional daycare centers. Throughout her connection with Springbrook, Ms. Leonard has focused on increasing her independence by steadily decreasing her need for intensive supports. Her dedication to this goal culminated recently as she moved out of a certified individual residential alternative (IRA) home, where supports and services are provided for each resident 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Today. Ms. Leonard lives in a supported apartment, with minimum staffing support, and a roommate whom she has known for over 17 years.

Ms. Leonard’s advocate, Springbrook direct support professional (DSP), Jacob Burrows, nominated her for the award and supported Ms. Leonard as she accepted her award. With Mr. Burrow’s assistance, Justine expressed her excitement at receiving the award and her gratitude for her many friends and loved ones. “I nominated Justine because of how much she does on her own and for herself. She moved into a new apartment, she has a roommate, a couple of staff who work with her, but for the most part she is able to do what she wants, when she wants, every day of the week,” said Burrows.

The Charles A. Belden Special Merit Citation was established in 1994 by the Board of Directors to honor Charles Belden. Mr. Belden served Springbrook in many capacities, including 40 years as a member of the Board. Mr. Belden was highly respected for his wisdom, understanding, and commitment. The Charles A. Belden Special Merit Citation is intended to give special recognition to an employee of Springbrook in acknowledgment of exceptional contributions and outstanding service. The recipient of this award has demonstrated a compassionate spirit and an unusually high level of care for the people served by Springbrook, as exemplified by Mr. Belden during his many years of service.

2022 Belden Award recipient, Patricia Meinel, has been with Springbrook for over 15 years. Throughout her tenure as an Overnight DSP, Ms. Meinel has earned a reputation as a committed and skilled team member. In her role, she practices the tenants of the DSP position while also taking on additional leadership and administrative tasks like medical room counts and checks (ensuring medical safety and quality in the residential setting). At the award ceremony, Margot Summerhill, the parent of an individual supported by Ms. Meinel, spoke of Ms. Meinel’s dedication and professionalism, saying, “I trust Patti’s judgement. For many people, being a DSP is just a job. I think Patti sees it different. She is here every day to ensure the people she supports have a good life.”

While presenting the award, Springbrook CEO Patricia Kennedy, noted that the Belden Award is unique because nominations are submitted by fellow employees and chosen by a committee of employees. “Patti received multiple nominations and each expressed the same sentiment, that Patti is a shining example of what a Springbrook employee is. She is the embodiment of our mission and the work we do,” said Kennedy. Upon receiving the award, Ms. Meinel thanked all who made the award possible, saying, “I am so honored. I love my job. I love the people I work with and that’s what keeps me here. I am so glad that I found my little notch in the world.”

Ms. Leonard and Ms. Meinel were honored, along with the 2022 Springbrook 20, 25. 20, 35, and 40 year milestone employees, at a luncheon on September 22, held at the organization’s Family Engagement Center in Oneonta, NY.


Springbrook provides at-home care, residential and educational services, day services, and clinical, therapeutic, and behavioral supports to over 1,100 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities from across New York State. With headquarters in Oneonta, NY, the organization has offices throughout the Southern Tier and employs more than 1,200 people.

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