|Ross Huntington and Jordan Hatch from Emery County are honored with Golden Key Awards for their service.|
"It's a great day in Eastern Utah," began Diane Russell, director of the governor's Committee on Employment of Young People with Disabilities at their recent annual awards luncheon. The luncheon was held at the Price Elk's Club. Russell told the audience that this was the 30th year the awards have been given, beginning in Salt Lake City in 1974. Kevin Cammack served as Master of Ceremonies while guest speaker was Jeri Hamilton, loan officer with Eastern Utah Community Credit Union. Hamilton explained the importance of fostering business relationships within the community. Presenting the awards were Michael Milovich, Carbon County Commissioner, and Blaine Petersen, executive director of Utah State Office of Rehabilitation.
Two Emery County residents received the awards for this year. They were Ross Huntington, Emery County School District Business Administrator, and Jordan Hatch who is an instructor at College of Eastern Utah.
Hatch was presented with the ACE Award. This award recognizes an outstanding company or individual who uses an innovative approach or concept to employ, train or accommodate people with disabilities.
Hatch is the instructor for CEUs Utah CDL and heavy equipment training. "He is a dedicated and hard working instructor. Jordan's philosophy is that anyone can do anything if they just put the time and effort into learning how to do it and how to do it well. He is the kind of person and instructor that does not see the disability of an individual but truly looks beyond at the person and what they can become. Jordan devotes a great deal of time to student advisement, and is very available and accessible to students."
Many of Hatch's students have physical problems, learning disabilities, or drug problems. But he has kept his academic program flexible in order to accommodate the needs of his students so they can succeed.
Hatch works closely with Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Workforce Services to recruit students and maintain good working relationships with employers in the region.
Miles Nelson, the Southeast ATC campus president states, "I believe that Jordan is an ACE in our community and that he, as an individual, has significantly contributed to the employment and/or empowerment of people with disabilities."
Huntington received the Service Provider of the Year award. This award recognizes a community service provider for outstanding and innovative efforts that have contributed to the employment and/or empowerment of people with disabilities.
Huntington believes in providing people with disabilities opportunities to build their skills so they can achieve successful employment and become independent. Over the past year Huntington has worked with Vocational Rehabilitation to place their clients in various positions in the district. Two of the individuals placed with the district were able to work in positions that gave them skill building and exposure to a very positive learning atmosphere. Most importantly this chance helped both individuals gain the self-esteem they will need to be successful in whatever they choose to do.
Katie Duncan, who had an opportunity to explore jobs within the district states, "I was looking for a job this last fall but hadn't found one yet. Because of an opportunity to work as a volunteer aide helping teachers and students, I was hired. I listen to students read, make copies of booklets, correct assignments among other duties. In helping the students become better readers, I have also become a better reader."
Julie Duncan, teacher, states, "Because of the support from Principal Brian Dawes, Ross Huntington and Vocational Rehabilitation, Katie was able to have a work experience that has made a difference in her life. She wakes up in the morning with a purpose."