Columbia City, Ind. — The Community Foundation of Whitley County has awarded the Dennis and Judith Hudson Commitment of the Heart Award for 2023 to Jessica Tester.
The award was established to honor the Hudsons’ memory by recognizing a direct support professional (DSP) working with individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in Whitley County. The award celebrates DSPs who go above and beyond for the individuals they support, showing love, compassion and patience.
Tester has been a DSP with Easterseals Passages since 2010. Her nomination described her “can-do attitude” and willingness to exceed expectations to meet the needs of the individuals she supports.
“Jessica cares deeply for the individuals we serve and provides them with excellent support,” Chief Development Officer Vickie Lootens wrote in her nomination. “She often takes the initiative to take on extra tasks and responsibilities to ensure the highest quality of service. Jessica gives her whole self and wants to ensure our participants receive the best care possible.”
The Hudsons cared for their daughter Lori in their home as long as they were able, and the family was grateful to find a safe and caring place for her to live with Easterseals Passages. Her sister, Jill Elkins, is now Lori’s guardian and helped present the award to Tester.
Tester’s name will be added to a plaque listing each year’s winner, and she will receive a financial award.