Robert Girard named "Employee of the Quarter" for Dale Rogers training project at Tinker Air Force Base
Robert Girard, a 1993 graduate of the School for the Deaf in Sulphur, recently earned a Dale Rogers Training Project “Employee of the Quarter” award for outstanding job performance at Vanwey Dining Hall, Tinker Air Force Base. Girard, who is employed by Dale Rogers as a food service worker, is a client and resident at the Transitional Living Center operated by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services in Oklahoma City.
Co-workers and friends in Vanwey Dining Hall applauded as Girard, who is deaf and blind, accepted the award and responded through a sign language interpreter from the Transitional Living Center. Girard said, “I’m shocked. I’m just shocked! I didn’t know.”
When asked about his outstanding performance, Girard signed matter-of-factly, “I looked for the job—found the job—and started working. I was patient, and it turned out alright.”
Girard was born with a significant hearing loss and also has a narrowing field of vision as a result of retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
While attending the Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur, Robert Girard was employed by their community work program and gained job skills training for his current position. He moved to the Transitional Living Center in 1993 for independent living skills training and job placement. Girard went to work for Dale Rogers in October and lives in an apartment at the center.
Approximately 40 percent of the students come to the Transitional Living Center from the School for the Deaf, while the balance are out of school and living at home. Interpreters and job coaches assist center clients in finding employment and successfully transitioning from school to work.
In 1993, the Department of Rehabilitation Services provided rehabilitative services to over 31,000 Oklahomans. Sixty-three percent of the people eligible for services are considered severely disabled.
The Dale Rogers Work Project is the second largest full food service contract operated by a work center in the United States. The Project, which employs 105 people and serves 46,000 meals per month, recently won the “Gold Plate Award” for the best Air Force food service in a seven state area. Approximately three-quarters of Dale Rogers’ employees have disabilities.
“Robert’s employment is an excellent example of state government, community providers and the employer working together, Jerry Dunlap, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, said. “This partnership helped create an opportunity, but Robert’s determination, willingness to work hard and great attitude made him a success.”