By Scott Halasz
July 5, 2014
XENIA — A Xenia resident recently had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. and visit three of our nation’s legislators and a Congressional aide.
Rusty May, an AbilityOne employee working on a federal contract at Greene, Inc., visited Capitol Hill for two days in June for SourceAmerica’s Grassroots Advocacy Conference. The conference, held each year in mid-June, is designed to help empower individuals with disabilities to be self advocates and speak to legislators about the importance of maintaining employment opportunities for those with significant disabilities.
“I learned a lot,” Mays told his employers at Greene, Inc., a nonprofit organization that is part of the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities that provides job opportunities for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities in Greene County. The organization is a major provider of secure document destruction services, commercial laundry services, and commercial janitorial services. May has been working at Greene, Inc. for 10 years and is currently a laundry finishing processor.
Accompanied by the Adult Services Director at Greene, Inc., Deborah Capuano, and Public Education Manager Gussie Jones, May was able to meet with U.S. Rep Mike Turner (R-Dayton), U.S. Sen. Robert Portman (R-Cincinnati), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), and an aide for Speaker of the House, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester). During these meetings, May not only advocated for himself, but also for others with more severe disabilities who work at Greene, Inc. about issues concerning legislative actions currently being considered by The House of Representatives and Congress.
“Rusty did an excellent job both as a self advocate and as a representative of the other employees at Greene, Inc.,” Capuano said.
SourceAmerica is a national nonprofit agency designated by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission to support local nonprofit agencies that participate in the AbilityOne Program and provide opportunities for people with significant disabilities through federal contracts for services and products. It helps federal customers by providing business development and contract management assistance; engineering and technical advice; legislative and regulatory guidance; professional training; and communication assistance.
The AbilityOne program is the largest source of employment for individuals with significant disabilities or those who are blind. Nearly 600 non-profit organizations employ individuals in this program and provide products and services to the federal government at a fair market price.