Supporting each other through difficult times
Don Pleasant is known at the Burlington Federal Building in Vermont for his tenacity, dedication, and eagerness. Time after time, his employer hears positive remarks from judges, court security officers, and other representatives of the probation and U.S. Attorney’s Office about his performance and personality. If there’s one thing that is crystal clear, it’s that over the past 40 years, Don has become an integral part of the federal building’s work family.
As a long-term employee, Don is a key asset of the custodial team. Gainfully employed at the site since 1979, he currently works for Northern New England Employment Services (Goodwill Northern New England), one of the nonprofit agencies within the SourceAmerica® network. Don is part of a federal contract through the AbilityOne® Program, one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.
Everyone Don interacts with appreciate his longevity, hard-work, and dedication to making sure the facility is well-maintained. In fact, on more than one occasion, the building’s tenants have gone above and beyond to support Don during difficult times. Since the beginning of his career at the Burlington Federal Building, Don has ridden his bike to work. Unfortunately, his bike was stolen two times. In both instances, the employees pooled money together to get him a brand-new bike.
“Employees coming together like this for Don is not surprising,” said June Snyder, Regional Manager of Goodwill Northern New England. “We often hear that Don is one of the most trustworthy, dedicated employees. The respect goes both ways.”
Federal building staff never hesitate to assist Don in any way they can. In their words, they “always have his back no matter the challenges he faces.”
Recently, Don’s wife passed away, and he missed work for the first time in over 40 years. Everyone from the federal customer to the Northern New England Employment Services family rallied around him to offer emotional and financial assistance. In fact, they raised enough money to pay for the funeral expenses and provided him with hundreds of dollars in gift cards to help meet daily needs.
Don’s wife handled all their affairs, including paying the bills, cooking, grocery shopping, and scheduling appointments. Now that he lives alone, Don has to navigate these responsibilities himself, while at the same time mourning the loss of his life partner. To support him during these challenging times, his employer offered a Life Navigator to help Don achieve his goals, both in life and at work.
“Goodwill Northern New England Life Navigator has been a godsend to me,” said Don. “The Life Navigator helped connect me to community resources, learn new skills to manage daily living, listened to my needs, and helped me feel less stress in managing my daily life.”
While Don’s journey continues, he is grateful for the outpouring of love and support he receives every step of the way.
To learn more about how you can employ people with disabilities at your organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org.