Another round of trustworthy businesses is recognized.

Just as Echoing Hills empowers those with disabilities to choose how to live purposeful lives, the Christian-centered nonprofit also lets others tell its story.

“We are very fortunate to have Echoing Hills serving our special-needs residents,” says Massillon, Ohio, Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

“The incredible effort and work that is being done by Echoing Hills … has changed not only the lives of our people with disabilities but also our community,” offers Rochelle Rossi of Canal Fulton, Ohio, a member of the Stark/Summit Echoing Hills Advisory Board.

“We love working with them for many reasons, but there is never a doubt that they will supply us with everything we ask and they are 100 percent focused on doing the right thing, even in the smallest of ways,” says Echoing Hills' audit partner, Yvonne McNulty of Plante Moran in Toledo.

Offering concurrence, judges of the BBB 2017 Torch Awards commented, “It's apparent that their core values and beliefs are strong.”

Echoing Hills was started in 1967 by an individual born with cerebral palsy who wanted others to have the encouragement he grew up with to achieve his dreams. Founder Cordell Brown and his wife created a small summer camp for children and adults with disabilities. It has grown to offer camp, residential, educational, transitional and healthcare services to hundreds of people with disabilities across Ohio and in Ghana, West Africa. And Brown remains involved as an ex-officio board member.

“Our services all support our belief that all individuals can live purposeful lives with dignity and respect,” says Harry (Buddy) Busch, president and CEO, in support of Echoing Hills' application for a 2017 BBB Torch Award.

“We believe a healthy business contributes to a healthy community. As a company, we adhere to strong standards of conduct in the way we deliver care and treatment to those who choose to receive services from us. We require that our employees act and conduct themselves in a way that will merit the continued trust and confidence of the individuals receiving services, EH stakeholders and the community at large,” Busch says.

“That's who we are; we are the hands and feet of Christ to those who are in need of understanding and acceptance of who they are and what they were created to be,” he adds.

A long-time consultant to the nonprofit, Alessandro Ciaffoncini of Columbus-based Origo Branding Company, sees Echoing Hills' values play out equally with clients and employees. “Whether it's helping a person with special needs to find their independence or supporting a staff member in finding their true calling in life, Echoing Hills works to help all people live out their full potential,” Ciaffoncini says.

“Working with a population that others may feel uncomfortable interacting with, I was amazed by every interaction I saw, as you could see the genuine relationships that the staff and leadership had with their residents and campers but also the genuine relationships they had with each other,” Ciaffoncini adds.

Perhaps the best testament for Echoing Hills comes from Jeff Sanders, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in his teens. In his own words, “Our lives here are a great pathway to freedom! … Things happen here just like anybody's life, how we take the steps to reach our goal. I've been here for around five years. … I hope this feedback may help you to understand how this Christian atmosphere is so you not worry anything of the negative happening.”