Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Local Paper Brings Important Issue Into Spotlight

Kudos to the Daily Star, our local daily paper, for bringing the use of offensive language towards people with disabilities into the spotlight.

Below is a link to an article that appeared in the February 12 edition of their paper:


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Push Pins Bring Comfort to Soldier in Iraq?

Push pins are not usually considered a source of comfort, but for Senior Airman Jeffrey Ball, who was stationed in Iraq with the Air Force, a little white box of push pins brought thoughts of home.

While in Iraq, Senior Airman Ball was going through military supplies when something caught his eye. “I saw something close to my address,” he said. He had come across a box of push pins, which were assembled at Resources for Industry (RFI), a workplace for people with disabilities operated by the Arc of Delaware County. RFI packaged the push pins as part of a previous government contract. The push pins were then sent to a government warehouse and made available to state and federal offices and agencies, including the military. Senior Airman Ball grew up across the street from RFI. The box was stamped with RFI’s address, just 3 numbers away from Senior Airman Ball’s home address. “It was a surprise at first,” he said. “It reminded me of home. It was nice to think about home.”

While home on leave recently, Senior Airman Ball visited with his friend and life-long neighbor Hillary Zujovic. When Hillary explained that she was working for The Arc of Delaware County in the Community Relations Department, Senior Airman Ball shared his story. This led to an invitation for Senior Airman Ball to tour the RFI facility and meet the people who brought a moment of comfort all the way to Iraq in the form of a little white box.

Susan Kneis (pictured above), who receives services from RFI, had a special connection with Senior Airman Ball’s story. Her brother serves in the National Guard, which has led her to gather items to send to the troops. Senior Airman Ball explained to the group that morale among the troops is good because of people like Susan. “We have a lot of people at home sending us stuff. Those things do mean a lot.”

Susan was also given the opportunity to introduce Senior Airman Ball to the group. “We would like to thank a very special hero for serving our country and fighting for our freedom in the Air Force,” she said.

Senior Airman Ball received a warm welcome from the folks at RFI, as they all took time to recognize and thank him for his service. He answered questions, posed for pictures, and exchanged email addresses. When packaging the push pins, the people at RFI never imagined they might end up in the hands of a soldier in Iraq, especially a neighbor. Though Senior Airman Ball grew up across the street from RFI, “I didn’t realize everything they did here,” he explained. “It was nice. Probably the warmest reception I’ve gotten so far.”

For an additional article on this story, visit the Daily Star's website at: http://www.thedailystar.com/local/local_story_041040028.html