Natatorium recognized for employing people with disabilities
by Jennifer Cohron
Aug 09, 2012 | 1768 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Arthur Hood cleans off a picnic table near Memorial Park Natatorium on Tuesday. Hood is one of several individuals with special needs employed at the Natatorium. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
Arthur Hood cleans off a picnic table near Memorial Park Natatorium on Tuesday. Hood is one of several individuals with special needs employed at the Natatorium. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
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Jasper’s Memorial Park Natatorium was recognized by a state organization last month for employing people with disabilities.

Natatorium manager Stacy Banks accepted the Large Employer of the Year award from the Alabama Association for Persons in Supported Employment during a ceremony held in Mobile on July 26.

Banks said four individuals with special needs currently work at the Natatorium and numerous others have been employed there since the facility opened. Their tasks have ranged from custodial work to lifeguarding.

“We are happy to provide people with disabilities with job training and an opportunity to work side by side with their peers,” Banks said.

Banks added that one special needs employee, Arthur Hood, has performed so well that the Natatorium staff recently nominated him for a personal achievement award.

Hood spent hours volunteering at APEX while the accessible playground was under construction. He was hired by the city several years ago and is now responsible for maintenance at APEX and the Natatorium.

Adam Bolton, Hood’s supervisor, said he is one of the hardest workers on the staff.

“He’s well capable of doing any task given to him. He’s always on time and never even takes a sick day,” Bolton said.

He added, “Everybody loves Arthur.”

The Natatorium was nominated for the AL-APSE award by the Arc of Walker County and Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

In her recommendation letter, Angela McGuire of ADRS called the Natatorium “an instrumental component in the advancement of employment opportunities for many of our Supported Employment Program consumers.”

Secunda Abroms of the Arc called the employment opportunities “win-win situations.”

“Employees of the Natatorium see past the individuals’ disabilities and treat them with great respect. The employees are happy and the employer is satisfied with their performance,” Abroms said in her letter.