2020 Outstanding Staff of the Year

VNU Awards 2020 Outstanding Employee of the Year Award


Sheldon, Iowa – Through everything 2020 has thrown our way, our staff have shown up every day and continued to give compassion, respect and dedication to those we serve. It was a difficult task to choose just one Staff Person of the Year, so two great employees were chosen for the award. Cathy Punt and Daphne Bremer both demonstrate our mission of Purpose, Privacy and Dignity to the highest degree.


Daphne began her career with Village Northwest Unlimited in 1993 as an Advocate at Free Wheelers. or House 358. From there she moved to House 350, known at the time as Brown House to assume the role of Residential Leader. Her next move was to the Transitional Training Center, House 366, as the Residential Leader/QIDP. In 2011, Daphne left VNU to care for her aging parents and work part time for Hope Haven in their Vocational Rehab facility in Sibley. In 2014, when VNU needed a Residential Leader/QIDP at House 366, Daphne was recruited by Sandy Kamphoff to return to her previous position. She still holds that position today.


Daphne demonstrates the Village’s mission of Purpose, Privacy and Dignity through her commitment to the individuals served and wanted them to experience success and have opportunities to do things they will enjoy. Anyone who knows Daphne knows she cares deeply about the people she serves as evidenced by her strong advocacy for them. Daphne has been instrumental in the creation of Campus Community Church, which allowed individuals served and staff the opportunity to worship together. She serves as a mentor to the other Residential Leaders, who look to her for advice due to her years of experience in leading and managing staff and residents.


Cathy began her career with Village Northwest Unlimited in 1996 as an overnight staff at the Blue House also known as house 333. She continued to work at House 333 for many years, becoming the Advocate at the house an eventually ender her career at the house as a Co-Residential Leader. After her years of experience in the ICF/ID world she transferred to the HCBS Residential Program when she took on the Manager role at 1017 5th Street. Her next transition, led her to her current position of Co-Director of Community Living. In addition to this position, Cathy teaches many HST classes and is the MANDT instructor.


Cathy lives out the Village’s mission of Purpose, Privacy and Dignity I her day-to-day work with the people she advocates for and works with. She is a positive role model of what the mission is and how to carry it out each day. She treats each person she comes in contact with as an individual with specific needs and when she is working with that person that is the focus of her attention. Cathy loves everyone…she has never met a stranger she doesn’t like. The mission and values of VNU are reflected in her interactions with all those around her.


When thinking of the Village Northwest Unlimited, and our desire to provide purpose, privacy and dignity for all people, it is easy to see that Cathy and Daphne are a tremendous asset to the Village. Cathy and Daphne have demonstrated the Village values in all their interactions with others.  They work hard and are a huge part of the Village family. 


Read more at villagenorthwest.org/stories/staffofyear



Ryan Haack, Director of Development

Village Northwest Unlimited

330 Village Circle – Sheldon, IA 51201

Ph. (office) (712) 324-5405