Two North Platte Opportunity Center employees were honored at the Association of Community Professionals annual conference on Nov. 14 in Kearney.

Diana Baxter-Nuffer was honored as the Outstanding Colleague and Matthew Gastineau was honored as an Outstanding Direct Support Professional.

Baxter-Nuffer has worked for the North Platte Opportunity Center for over 31 years.

Baxter-Nuffer is currently the supported employment manager, working with the adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and the community business owners/managers to provide gainful employment to those served at NPOC.

“She is their biggest advocate and has been extremely successful in seeking out employment that accentuates the abilities and provides meaning and an income to so many,” a press release from the NOPC said.

Baxter-Nuffer has worked in many capacities in this field of work and continues to be an important part of this community.

“Diana sees the best in everyone, is encouraging and dedicated to finding the right place of employment for everyone she works with,” the release said.

Baxter-Nuffer also gives her time to Paws-itive Partners, fostering animals and so much more. Baxter-Nuffer’s award was the only Outstanding Colleague award presented this year by ACP. She was nominated by her peers. Baxter-Nuffer is married and lives in North Platte with her husband, Fritz, and she has two adult children who live in Nebraska.

Gastineau has worked for North Platte Opportunity Center for almost two years.

He began as a part-time maintenance laborer and soon after found his place as a direct support staff. He has worked with several young men with disabilities in the last two years. He has supported them in seeking their GED, working out and making healthy life choices.

“Gastineau has made a difference in others’ lives that he works with at NPOC,” the release said. “He supports these men by working alongside them. They have built walls, moved furniture, ran a 5K, recycled, remodeled and cleaned apartments and businesses with them.”

Gastineau was recognized for this work with the award that was given to one direct support staff in each region of Nebraska. Gastineau was nominated by his peers. Gastineau is single, graduated from York College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and lives in North Platte, where his family all live nearby.

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