Kathy Ausmus retires after 43-year career in disability human services

Aug 10, 2020


It was bittersweet for team members and people who are served at Rise Coon Rapids when Program Manager Kathy Ausmus retired earlier this summer. Kathy topped off her stellar 43-year career in human services by working for Rise for the past twenty years.

Kathy went to work at Cambridge State Hospital when she was just 17 years old, and continued to work with children and adults who have disabilities in various positions at organizations throughout Central Minnesota and Anoka County.

In 2000, Kathy came to work as a substitute direct services professional for Rise Coon Rapids. Based on her wide range of skills and solid work ethic, she was subsequently promoted to service team leader and then program manager.

“Rise develops careers opportunities for everyone to fulfill their personal dreams and needs,” said Kathy. “Everyone should have an equal opportunity!’

Kathy is proud of the role she played in expanding employment opportunities for people at Rise Coon Rapids, including both center-based production subcontracts and community business sites.

“I always said ‘Yes!’ when offered a new position or asked to help set up a new business work site and get it up and running successfully,” Kathy added.

“Kathy made so many contributions to our Coon Rapids program,“ said Natalie Zacharias, director of Day and Employment Services. “She’d jump right in to show a person served how to do a job, never believing someone couldn’t do it, and helped staff come up with creative ways to support individuals do meaningful work. Kathy was a real mover-and-shaker. We’ll miss her, but wish her the best in her retirement!”

Kathy says she has enjoyed working with everyone and will miss assisting people work to their potential and achieve their dreams.

But Kathy plans to make the most retirement life and tells her husband: “Grow old with me – the best is yet to come. Every day is a new adventure and new beginnings for me. I try to make every day special for me and my family!”

This article appears in the September 2020 issue of the Rise Reporter.

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