MOUNT VERNON — New Hope Industries Inc. conducted their annual employer recognition breakfast Thursday morning at The Dan Emmett Conference Center, honoring numerous area employers and employees for their efforts with New Hope over the past year.
Dennis Eggerton, New Hope CEO, welcomed the many guests attending and introduced Steve Oster, Knox County Board of Development Disabilities superintendent. “Individuals are a vital and dynamic part of our nation, and their contributions have impacted countless lives. People with disabilities bring value to our workplaces. They have the ability to work, want to work and can work,” said Oster. “On behalf of the KCBDD, I want to personally thank all the employers for hiring on the individuals in this room as well as giving opportunities for brighter futures. I want to thank all of the employees for your hard work, dependability and dedication to your jobs. We also thank New Hope Industries for sponsoring this event.”
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis spoke briefly on special employment opportunities in a report released by the Office of Disability Employment Policy. “There are millions of Americans with disabilities who have the education, skills and desire to work, but who are not doing so. Outdated attitudes and stereotypes are part of the reason, but a lack of knowledge about the full range of employment supports available is a factor as well,” said Mavis. “Technological and medical advances, enhanced accessibility of mass transit and buildings, improved employment laws and policies, and a great number of private and public sector opportunities all make it possible for workers with disabilities to get to work and carry out their jobs, just like everybody else.”
Remarks were also shared from Knox County Commissioner Bob Wise. “We want to thank you for your dedication as leaders, employers, professionals, professors, teachers and most importantly you dedicated workers,” said Wise. “In my experience as a commissioner and gas man, I have learned that workers need to be dedicated and enjoy their jobs.”
Numerous individuals and businesses were recognized by Terri Pribonic, community employment services manager for NHI. Pribonic told about the mission of NHI in their continuing efforts of contacting area businesses in hopes of finding jobs for promising individuals. It is her hope that “today’s celebration will convey to the people of Knox County what wonderful things our local employers are doing to provide work for persons with disabilities within our community; that this small group of employers not only recognized persons with disabilities can contribute in the workplace, but welcomed them to do so, and that there is a need for others to follow their lead.”
Sharing a story about his experience with those who have special needs was Ron Stull, director of building services for Knox Community Hospital. “I have met a lot of people with special needs. The bottom line is, none of us are perfect,” said Stull. “Everyone has limitations, and I need to take theirs into careful consideration. As a director, I always believe that you have to be very consistent in the way you treat people. This also meant I needed to hold this person accountable the same as I would any other building service representative, and at the same time treating them with integrity and respect during the process. So, as you can see, I, too, have special needs.”