Locals with Disabilities Find Simple Joy in a Job Well Done

By KBJR News 1

October 27, 2011 Updated Oct 27, 2011 at 11:24 AM CDT

Darcy takes pride in her job.

Her employer says she brings a unique energy and dependability.

"We are a retail business. We have reasonably high turn-over every year and Darcy has been with us for 16 years which is pretty incredible," says Darcy's boss Sharon Murphy.

Plus, she epitomizes everything the Whole Foods Co-Op in Duluth stands for--commitment to community.

"In the process of wanting to communicate well with her, many of our staff have learned American Sign Language and that's been a really great benefit for all of us."

It is through a non-profit organization called CHOICE, unlimited that Darcy found her job at the Co-Op.

And across the bridge, in Superior, CHOICE has teamed up with Culver's to give another person with disabilities a chance to integrate into every day society.

"I don't even call it a job, I don't even call it work. Just me coming here and it's a family," says Terry Stenson who found his job at the Culver's in Superior through CHOICE.

"I had other people assigned to do these jobs like cleaning windows and they didn't do a very good job at it. When Terry came on board he did an awesome job. It was like a bonus," says the owner of the Culver's Kyle Mehlum.

Like with the job opening at Culver's, CHOICE approaches companies and educates them on the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, and connects applicants and employers.

The non-profit helps people with disabilities become independent from government subsidies and live on their own by placing them in jobs across the Northland.

In the case of Culver's and Terry, it was a perfect match.

"Whenever Terry comes in, he lights up the whole place. He fit in here just like part of the family," says Kyle who often relates with Terry on their love of sports.

As for Terry, he just got a promotion for his hard work. Work that he's confident no one can do quite as good as he can.

"I'll be here for a long time. No one can do my job the way I do it," Terry says confidently.