- Tom Miller Award for Advocacy
SKILS'KIN | Spokane, WA
John Lemus has been advancing rights, opportunities and training for people with disabilities since he was in high school. Over the past seven years, John served on multiple councils and groups related to decisionmaking and empowerment for people with disabilities and authored Policy 116, which focuses on the rights and supports of parents who have developmental disabilities. He has personally met and formed relationships with local, state and congressional leaders in the State of Washington. Over the past few years, the state government has faced deep budget cuts. John lobbied his legislators regarding service funds and was able to protect current funding levels. He achieved this by enlightening them on the importance of services and employment for individuals with disabilities and the impact on their communities. John is a great role model for people with disabilities who want to work, and says, “I don’t want to be treated differently. I want to be held accountable to the duties of my role. I also want to be supported.”
The Tom Miller Award for Advocacy recognizes an employee with a significant disability who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and remarkable passion for self-advocacy on a local and/or national level.
- William M. Usdane Award
Job Options, Inc. | San Diego, CA
Yolanda Richardson began her career with Job Options in 2010 at the Naval Medical Center. As a floor technician, her primary responsibility is cleaning the rooms in Building 26, where she is known as “The Mayor of Building 26.” She earned this designation because of her pleasant demeanor and the sincere care she shows the wounded warriors in this building. She attributes her success to her desire to serve and honor those who have made immeasurable sacrifices for our freedom. Most of the men and women in the building Yolanda services have severe injuries and are depressed. She’s become a trusted confidant to many of the wounded warriors because she sees them regularly and knows what it’s like to experience and live with major depression. She makes every effort to provide them with superior service to show them that she cares. Yolanda is reliable, takes pride in her work and exudes a passion for helping others succeed, evidenced by the many letters of praise and appreciation she has received from supervisors, managers and Federal Government customers.
The William M. Usdane Award recognizes an AbilityOne Program employee with a significant disability who has exhibited outstanding achievement and exceptional character.
- President's Award
Vocational Guidance Services | Cleveland, OH
In 1984, Ernest “Ernie” Tubbs began working at VGS in the wood shop, building bulletin boards for the U.S. Postal Service. In 1987, Ernie became the supervisor for one of VGS’ largest contracts, producing Dobie scouring pads. He oversaw a department of 50+ employees, who produced on average one million scouring pads each month. Ernie ran that department successfully for 15 years. Since 2002, Ernie has held a unique position at VGS where he serves both sides of the agency’s work- vocational rehabilitation and social enterprise. He oversees the contract shop as well as order fulfillment and shipping, and continues his work with VGS’ Work Adjustment Program, training individuals in business operations and teaching job-readiness skills. Ernie’s visual impairment and physical disabilities do not limit him. He is a dependable employee and for over 30 years has led by example and dedicated himself to the mission. His adaptability and leadership have inspired many individuals with disabilities and colleagues over the course of his accomplished career. '
The President’s Award recognizes a non-AbilityOne Program employee with a significant disability who has exhibited outstanding leadership and exceptional character.
- Evelyne Villines Award
InspiriTec, Inc. | Fort Knox, KY
After leaving the U.S. Army with service-related spine and neck injuries, Jeff Carver spent five months unemployed and submitted over 200 job applications before joining InspiriTec in September 2011. As a customer care representative (CCR) for the U.S. Army’s Human Resources Service Center (HRSC), Jeff used his military experience to assist callers with military benefits related questions. He was quickly promoted to lead CCR, then to program manager of the HRSC and later to personnel security assurance program manager. Promoted again to Defense Manpower Data Center program manager, he is currently responsible for 140 employees who answer 40,000 calls monthly. By spring 2015, it is estimated he will oversee 250 employees answering more than 100,000 calls monthly. Jeff has an associate’s degree in general studies and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human resources. Despite his increasing work and educational responsibilities, he always makes time to provide career guidance and support for other wounded warriors.
The Evelyne Villines Award recognizes an individual with a significant disability who has advanced from work on an AbilityOne contract into private/government sector employment or management within the nonprofit agency.
- AbilityOne Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities Award
Skookum | Ft. Meade, MD
Carlos Powell served 22 years in the U.S. Army in various military occupational specialties, including cannon crewmember, infantryman, military policeman and unit supply specialist. During his third tour in Iraq, Carlos was shot by a sniper in the hand and back, paralyzing him from the waist down. He spent 8 months at Walter Reed Medical Center in physical therapy, regained the use of his legs and was discharged from the Army. He then faced his next challenge, finding a job. Carlos joined Skookum in July 2011 as a laborer and was quickly promoted to Transportation Motor-Pool Dispatcher. His knowledge and understanding of Army policies and procedures in the transportation field coupled with his positive attitude made for a seamless transition. He creates a friendly, focused and efficient environment for the 115 customers, 2,300 licensed drivers and 362 vehicles the Transportation Motor-Pool team supports. Carlos has a passion for giving back, teaching and mentoring. He coaches football for the Boy’s Club, works with baseball coaches and volunteers regularly at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
The AbilityOne Honor Roll for Veterans with Disabilities Award recognizes a service-disabled veteran who has exhibited outstanding achievement in his/her work life.