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Balance Autism’s Beth Stanwood

Mary Burich | September 20, 2020


#NominateGood honors everyday hero

Beth Stanwood’s story is exactly the sort the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand team was looking for when it launched its #NominateGood campaign this spring.

Beginning in late 2019, the team had been on a nationwide Good Feeds Us All Tour, shining a light on organizations and people who work tirelessly for the betterment of others. But plans changed when the COVID-19 pandemic spread to the United States. As Hormel Foods team members sheltered in place and began to work from home, they reached out to co-workers, consumers, community members, social media followers – everyone, really – in order to be able to continue sharing inspirational stories of everyday heroes. Stories of people like Beth Stanwood, an administrative assistant at Balance Autism.

Nominate Good Winner Beth Stanwood

“Without Beth’s quick and tireless response, we would probably have needed to halt our services to children with autism for some periods of time until we could get the supplies we needed,” says her supervisor, Evelyn Horton. “With Beth’s help, we were able to not only prepare the clinics but also to create personal sanitization kits for each staff who does service in the homes of the people we serve.”

Tammy Sposeto, a member of the team at Burke Corporation, a Hormel Foods company in Nevada, Iowa, is responsible for making the Natural Choice® team aware of Beth’s commitment to the people Balance Autism serves. When she read about the #NominateGood contest on the Hormel Foods intranet, she immediately thought of her friend from church and the work she was doing to take care of the safety needs of those who staff and receive services from Balance Autism. With locations in multiple Iowa towns and cities, the Altoona-based organization helps a good many children and adults who are on the autism spectrum, and supports their family members as well.

With Beth’s help, we were able to not only prepare the clinics but also to create personal sanitization kits for each staff who does service in the homes of the people we serve.

Evelyn Horton, Balance Autism

Beth was stunned to learn she had been selected as one of #NominateGood’s honorees. In characteristic fashion, she downplayed her worthiness.

“I honestly don’t know why I received the award! But it was very sweet of Tammy to do that,” says Beth. From the early days of the virus’ spread, Beth has been pursuing all manner of paths to obtain personal protective equipment, disinfectant and cleaning supplies. Not only are those items keeping everyone healthy, they’re allowing services to continue to people who need them. People who benefit greatly from established routines.

Evelyn, who serves as vice president of children’s services at Balance Autism, was far from surprised at Beth’s eagerness to roll up her sleeves and perform a Herculean task. She’s seen her doggedness before.

“Beth thinks ahead and is a problem-solver,” Evelyn says. “… During the very first part of the pandemic, when it became obvious that we needed to quickly increase our safety protocols, … Beth jumped in and quickly started trying to locate hand gel, masks, thermometers, gloves, disinfecting spray, wipes, etc.”

When the established supply chain was a dead end, Beth “got creative.” “She looked in some pretty unconventional places to find what we need,” Evelyn adds.

These are trying times, both women agree. “It’s been hard on the parents and on the clients,” Beth says. “Some have stopped coming [since the pandemic began.]”

That’s all the more reason she persists. In her nearly three years with Balance Autism, Beth has seen firsthand the growth and development that can take place when people care about each other. She just never realized the part she would play in changing lives.

Beth doesn’t consider herself a hero, just someone who’s been in the office every day, advocating for those who don’t always have a voice. For the team responsible for the Natural Choice® brand, that’s everything.