Monday, April 4, 2016

Darke DD Series - What’s Your Story: John Stewart

Left to right: Midmark teammates Sheryl Lange, John Stewart and Jody Stump.
(Greenville, Ohio) – March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. As we continue our series this week with the theme, “What’s Your Story?”Darke DD invites you to get to know someone with a disability. Take a moment to learn their story and create a connection. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

Early on in John Stewart’s adult life he worked at several fast food restaurants and it was evident from day one that he had a strong work ethic. However, after moving, transportation issues lead him to attending Wayne Industries sheltered workshop. As with all other jobs that John had worked, he brought determination and pride to this job as well. When asked if he would like to obtain another job in the community, John emphatically stated yes. This is when he was signed up to receive employment assistance through the Employment First Partnership.

In 2014, Midmark Corporation reached out to the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Darke DD) in an effort to further diversify their workforce. In December 2015, they again reached out to Darke DD with a new position that they were ready to fill. Through assistance from Tamala Marley (Darke DD Employment Advisor) and employment training providers Capabilities Inc., Creative Learning Workshop and United Rehabilitation Services (URS) three individuals received instruction and were screened for this position. After careful consideration, Midmark happily chose John for the job.

In January 2016, John began his new job at Midmark Corporation in Versailles. When he first began working, his employers were happy with his performance. However, in the two months since he began working he has doubled his productivity and even taken on new tasks. His supervisor, Mark Hoying states that he appreciates that, “John always arrives to work early and always has a high enthusiasm for work. He has a zest for life and is always willing to do any job that he is asked to do.”

It is evident that John and Midmark Corporation are a great fit and this would not have been possible if not for Midmark’s visionary thinking and John’s passion for working. Yes, John would have eventually found another job but it isn’t as likely that he would have found such a great fit. When asked about what he likes most about working at Midmark John states, “I appreciate the friends that I have made at work.” He went on to share that his job has even made a positive impact on his personal life. When asked what he would share with other individuals with disabilities regarding employment John stated, “I would tell them to take a chance. They might like it. I do.”

The Employment First Partnership is an initiative between the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities and local county boards of developmental disabilities to assist individuals with disabilities to obtain and retain employment. Anyone interested in learning more about the Employment First Partnership should visit their website at or feel free to contact Rodney Willis, Darke DD Community First Director at 459-4626 or For more information on the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities visit our website at Like us on Facebook – Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

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