About the Award
Stephen P. Hansler has served as the Executive Director or President of MaxHousing (formerly know as MAHO) since its inception. Under his leadership, we have provided fully accessible housing to hundreds of people with mobility disabilities. We have also taught the necessity for and principles of accessible housing to government officials, housing professionals, consumers, and case workers. This award honors Steve’s commitment to attaining independent living through accessible housing.
Stephen P. Hansler Award Recipients
2021 Winner: Patti Substelny
In the fall of 2021, while presenting the 2021 Stephen P. Hansler award, Steve had this to say about award recipient, Patti Substelny:
In about 2010, I started hearing about someone named Patti. Some board members had met her and been to her house and told me about how she had renovated it to make it wheelchair accessible. Then Beth and some other staff and many other Board members met Patti, most of them also seeing her house.
They all began to say we should get Patti to join the MAHO Board. I wondered if she could really be as incredible as they were all making her out to be. Finally, I got an audience with Patti (because anybody who knows Patti realizes that meeting with her is akin to meeting royalty) and discovered that everyone was right- Patti Substelny is amazing in an amazing number of ways.
2019 Winner: Jan Hollinger
Conscientious and Committed. These words describe Jan Hollinger Jones as a long-time member of the MAHO Board of Directors and her dedication to independent living for people with disabilities.
Jan has been on the Board since 2006 and has served as Secretary since 2013. Jan majored in biology at the College of Wooster and studied physical therapy at Case Western Reserve University. As a physical therapist, she has always been interested in accessibility issues; when the opportunity arose to join the Board, she accepted the invitation. Jan volunteered at Muscular Dystrophy Camp, where she first met fellow Board member, Kathy Cotman. Jan worked at Sunbeam School, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland State University, and Spain Rehabilitation Center
2018 Winner: Jan Hollinger
At MAHO’s annual meeting on December 5, 2018, Steve Hansler presented the 2018 Hansler Award posthumously to Fred Cortright. His wife, Beth Armstrong, accepted the award.
Fred was a lifelong advocate for sustainability, accessible housing, and social justice in many forms; in addition to serving on the MAHO Board, he volunteered with Lakewood Alive, Home Repair Resource Center, and Lutheran Metro Ministry. Fred passed away in March of 2018.
In his presentation, Steve noted that the Hansler Award recognizes those who not only support the mission, vision and values of MAHO, but have also made an outstanding contribution to furthering them. Fred not only contributed to furthering MAHO’s mission, he actually helped write our current mission, vision, and values in 2017. This was very typical of Fred’s involvement with MAHO: in his four years on the Board, he served on every ad hoc committee, attended resource fairs, gave presentations, and helped develop our Anderson Center program.
On his prospective Board member questionnaire for MAHO, Fred wrote, “I am told that this is a Board that “does things,” which I find attractive in that I try to live so as to be of use.” There is no doubt that Fred was of use to MAHO and many others. He is missed greatly.
2017 Winner: Chris Garr
At MAHO’s annual meeting on December 6, 2017, Steve Hansler presented the 2017 Hansler Award to Chris Garr. For the last several years, Chris has worked with MAHO staff on the ADA Cleveland coalition. Through his work at Youth Challenge, Chris has referred several young people to the Vistas Apartment Communities. All who know him speak of Chris’s commitment, passion, and outstanding sense of humor.
Youth Challenge (YC) brings together young people with physical disabilities and teen volunteers through adapted sports. Chris began volunteering at YC when he was 12 years old and now serves as Director of Program Services. He serves as co-chair of the ADA Cleveland executive committee, where he works diligently and enthusiastically to eliminate barriers and increase accessibility in Cleveland. Chris also co-teaches a course on Adapted Physical Education at Baldwin Wallace University.
When accepting the Hansler Award, Chris shared that his goal is to “make sure every person is living life to their potential.” It is clear that he goes above and beyond in his work, serving as coach, mentor, big brother, and teacher to the participants at YC.
2016 Winner: Ann Russell
We are delighted to announce that Ann Russell has received the 2016 Stephen P. Hansler Award. Ann joined the Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio Board of Directors in the 1990s and served two terms as Board President. In addition to her work on the Board, Ann assists the MAHO staff in the office as a clerical volunteer.
Ann initially studied Zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University, then went to graduate school at Case Western Reserve University to get a master’s degree in Physical Therapy. After several years of clinical work in Cleveland and Boston, Ann joined the faculty at Cleveland State University in the Physical Therapy Program. With an increased interest in research, she attended the University of Iowa, graduating with a PhD in Exercise Science. Over the years she has had varied experiences: she volunteered at a camp for children with muscular dystrophy and held a post-doctoral research position at the University of Washington in Seattle and other faculty positions at Cleveland State, Gannon University, and Walsh University. She is presently retired from clinical work.
2015 Winner: Mary Ann Gehringer
We are delighted to announce that Mary Ann Gehringer has received the 2015 Stephen P. Hansler Award. Since meeting Steve 31 years ago, Mary Ann has supported Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio (MAHO) as our auditor and friend. As our auditor, Mary Ann helped create accounting systems that worked as MAHO grew into the organization it is today. Mary Ann consistently went above and beyond her role, informing others of MAHO’s accessibility experience and taking part in MAHO events.
When Mary Ann’s husband, Mike, was diagnosed with a brain tumor that caused limited eyesight, speech difficulties, and mobility issues, Mary Ann knew that Mike was going to need accessible housing. She sought all the information she could to make her home accessible including, of course, consulting with Steve to utilize his expertise. Mary Ann renovated all living areas that Mike would be using and even bought a completely accessible motor home, complete with a chairlift.
2014 Winner: MaryLou Lamb
We are very excited to announce that MaryLou Lamb received the inaugural Stephen P. Hansler Award. MaryLou has been a part of MAHO since its beginning: she helped found the organization in 1981, served as a Board member for over 25 years, and is currently an Emeritus Director. She has made outstanding contributions to furthering the mission, vision and values of MAHO.
MaryLou graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. She has spent over 30 years working in Cleveland and the surrounding areas as a teacher, program director, consultant and Pastoral Disability Specialist. MaryLou was part of the Outreach Ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland for 15 years and served as the Program Coordinator and Director of the Task Force for Persons with Disabilities at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry for seven years. MaryLou also authored the book A Star and a Rainbow for Benji, which was inspired by two boys she knew through her work at the Outreach Ministry.