For Deb Raucher, becoming a special education teacher was less a plan than a realization.
She started off as a general education teacher, but students from life-skills support classes would come to her for help during lunchtime.
"I've always enjoyed spending time with them," she said. "I just discovered a love."
Raucher, now a transition consultant at Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, is one of six recipients of the York County Economic Alliance's Spirit of York County Awards, which will be given out at a breakfast ceremony at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the Yorktowne Hotel, said Wilda Alessi, senior manager of marketing at the Economic Alliance.
Raucher will receive the Education/Workforce Development Advocate of the Year Award. She works with 14- to 21-year-olds with disabilities, helping prepare them for life after school and in a career.
"I'm most proud of seeing students successful in their lives after high school," she said.
Other honorees: York City Police Chief Wes Kahley will receive the Community Service Award, which is given to someone who "demonstrates outstanding services to the community," Alessi said.
She said Kahley did so by chairing the Can-Am games, creating community resources against gangs and in general working to reduce crime in York City.
State Rep. Ron Miller and Penn Township manager Jeffrey R. Garvick will receive the Elected Official of the Year and the Appointed Official of the Year awards, respectively. Alessi said both awards were of the lifetime-achievement variety.
"They're looking at overall service," Alessi said.
The Non-Profit Community Impact Award will go to Steam Into History Inc., which chronicles the role of York in Civil War history and promotes York County as a tourist destination.
"They're bringing visitors to York County from around the country," Alessi said.
Casey Hermann will receive the Volunteer of the Year award. She works as a career counselor for Penn-Mar Human Services.
She helps people with developmental disabilities find work at local businesses. She is involved in several local organizations, including the York Young Professionals, United Way Emerging Leaders Society, the Women Living United initiative of United Way, Southern York County Business Association and the Buy Local Coalition.
Anyone interested in attending the awards breakfast can register at www.ycea-pa.org. Economics Club members get in free, Economic Alliance members for $25 and non-members for $35.
— Reach Sean Philip Cotter at firstname.lastname@example.org.