Special to The Richmond Daily News

RICHMOND – The following, written by Rosetta Cates, provides a first-person look at what working is like in Ray County’s sheltered workshop, Ideal Industries.

Ideal Industries. What does that word mean?

A lot. Ideal Industries is a place where people with all kinds of disabilities can go and work, talk, enjoy being with others that have the same obstacles in life as they do. A place where we can go do a job and not be judged on how slow or fast we go. We work at our own pace, which can and does change from day to day.

It’s a family. We at Ideal Industries are a group of people with different disabilities, whether it may be physical or emotional. These are the very reasons that we are not able to work in a public environment. We come in every day from 8:30 to 3. We work. We have fun. But let me make it perfectly clear we take our jobs seriously. We get our jobs out.

Let me tell you a little about our supervisors. They are the best. They know each one of us, what we are capable of doing, and what we’re not. They work with us. They don’t judge us. They accept us for who we are. They have knowledge of what every single one of us can do or what we can’t. You would not find any supervisors better than what we have. They recognize if we’re having a bad day and work with us. Again, they’re the best. Lisa Auer, the head supervisor, works with Heather (Pugh) to keep us jobs. I cannot tell you how many times a day someone tells her they love her. She always tries to cheer someone up if they’re down. Or just listens if that’s what someone needs. She helps us have activities.

Now, don’t mistake me. We have rules. You have to. As we just learned in a group we had. Respect. Responsibility. Safety. Lisa and all the supervisors make sure these rules are followed every day.

Heather Pugh is the best director we have ever had. She cares. That’s important. No matter what it is, we have work every day. She comes out on the floor with a smile and talks to us.

So, I ask you, please, let us keep our workshop.

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