Gifts that keep on giving

Having a healthy body and a desire to work and being productive are God-given gifts that compare to the air we breathe and the food we eat.

I was reminded of how important good health is in 2015 when I broke a hip and had to undergo three surgeries before I was able to get back on my own two feet. The surgeries were not the worst part. The biggest challenge I faced was mustering the patience to face each step with a walker and each repetition in physical therapy with a positive attitude.

A visit to Terrell Industries last week reminded me how important it is for everyone who wants to work to have a job.

Terrell is a non-profit sheltered workshop that provides jobs for adults with special needs.

Its 39 employees do light assembly work for local industries, including Russell Forest Products and General Electric.

The first thing you notice when you walk into their plant are the busy hands and focused eyes on the jobs at hand. Then you see the smiles on their faces and know they’re happy and take great pride in their work.

A problem is they don’t have enough jobs coming in to keep them working on a four-days-per-week schedule. Consequently, most are now limited to three days and some as little as one or two days.

Plant Manager Juanita Owens said her employees would prefer to work five days a week.

“They’re such hard workers who look forward to coming to work and getting their paychecks every two weeks,” she pointed out. “No matter what the job is, they’ll give it a try.”

Typically, local industries will outsource time consuming and repetitive jobs to Terrell employees. By doing this, they save money by not having to pay skilled workers to perform the jobs. In turn, Terrell’s employees are paid for doing work that is compatible with their skill levels. Terrell is compensated on a basis of piece of work performed and its employees are paid on the same basis.

Terrell has provided low-skill jobs to special needs adults for nearly 30 years.  Hopefully, work orders will be forthcoming and its success will continue well into the future.

 

Clif Knight is staff writer emeritus for the Hartselle Enquirer.

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