Celebrating Workers with Disabilities

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

Huntington, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Finding a job in this economy is hard enough. Finding a job in the downturn economy when you have a disability is a challenge that can seem overwhelming.

Some local folks with disabilities have overcome big obstacles to not only get a job, but do that job to award-winning levels. Angelica Osborne is not used to awards. Today's honor nearly leaves her speechless.

“I’m so excited, I’ve never won anything like this. I’m so honored,” said Angelica.

Angelica has a seizure disorder and a learning disability. She's classified as disabled. It's a label that kept this 22-year-old from applying for a job for a long time.

“I was afraid I would mess up. With my Attention Deficit Disorder, I have a hard time concentrating. I can’t focus very easily,” said Angelica.

But, that all changed when she got hired by Elder Beerman. Now, she's being celebrated for overcoming her challenges.

This is a day of celebration in Huntington--part of the Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities. This parade--to generate awareness.

“You take the dis off ability. We focus on the abilities we do have,” said Rebecca Thacker.

Rebecca is a city council member. She's also dedicated her life to disability awareness particularly in the workplace.

“We may do it differently, but we often arrive at the same outcome usually at the same time,” said Rebecca.

Kevin Smith is today's spokesperson, but is rallying the troops more like a cheerleader. He works for an agency, called people first. It makes people with disabilities aware of their rights on the job. On this day, he's working a job fair sponsored by the Southwest Community Action Agency. The process of helping others has helped him.

“They ask me if they have rights and when I tell them they do, their faces light up. That’s the best feeling in the world and makes my job worthwhile,” said Kevin.

Several local employers were also honored for their efforts to hire workers with disabilities including Goodwill Industries.

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