Department of Employment Success Story
Faye Thornton resides in Newcastle, a small town in the sparsely populated Northeastern corner of Wyoming. Faye is a parent to two teenaged children. About 11 years ago, Faye’s vision was affected by optic neuropathy. She is legally blind. Even though Faye is legally blind, she is very independent. Faye owns her own home, is raising her children as a single parent, and walks wherever she needs to go.
In order to maintain her independence, Faye contacted DVR about returning to work part-time. Faye had the strong work ethic and will to become employed; what she needed was a little direction, a little training and a little confidence. Faye was looking for immediate employment but with job skills that would transfer to the job market in Laramie in the likelihood that she would be moving once her children were ready to attend the University of Wyoming.
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Susy Sand, working out of the Gillette DVR Office, teamed up with Tracy Hemingway, an employment specialist for Life Quest in the Newcastle area. Tracy immediately began researching job openings in the Newcastle area and pinpointed Pizza Hut as a potential employer. She talked to Mark, the manager, and set up an appointment for Faye to interview. Mark was looking for help with dishwashing duties before the Sturgis Rally crowds began arriving in Newcastle.
Mark must have been impressed with Faye, he hired her on the spot. Tracy, Susy and Faye talked about whether or not Faye needed to work with a job coach, someone to help her orient to the kitchen area, identify the cleaning products and storage areas, identify the safety issues and operate the dishwashing equipment. Faye had experience working as a data entry clerk and as a housekeeper for a motel, but that was before she lost her sight. It had been 11 years, a long time since she’d been employed and Faye might even just need a little moral support.
But Faye was already showing signs of confidence. She didn’t feel she needed a job coach and Mark, her manager, was confident he and Faye’s fellow employees would rise to the occasion. They were right, of course. After purchasing uniforms, Faye immediately started work. She learned very quickly and her co-workers were both friendly and helpful. Faye has her “own” corner of the kitchen where she enjoys working at her own pace and over which she has complete control. Faye enjoys her job. She said her job “gets her out of the house” and the money, of course, helps to pay the bills. “Other people, people who can see, are receiving welfare, I’m proudest of the fact that I no longer need food stamps.”