By Tim Brown
Since graduating from East Gadsden High School in 2008, Don Brown has had his heart set on working for the Gadsden County School District. After successfully completing a couple of internships in other areas, he finally found his home in the district’s school bus transportation department.
“I am happy that I can work and earn lots of money,” Brown said.
Brown has a developmental disability and receives services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with disabilities and the employers that hire them.
Brown currently works as a custodial assistant and his duties include cleaning and disinfecting school buses. Over his 20-hour work week, he gathers trash, book bags, and clothing items from the buses before they begin their routes. He takes his clipboard and signs out keys to bus drivers as they come in for their shifts. Brown sometimes rides with drivers to help students onto buses at designated times.
Transportation Director Gerald Gay knew Brown for many years as a student and admired his work ethic long before he was hired.
“Don is a hardworking individual, compassionate about helping others, and dedicated to doing a good job,” Gay said.
Before working at the transportation department, Brown was granted an internship through APD performing maintenance duties such as mowing grass and removing trash from school hallways, classrooms, offices, and grounds. He then moved to the food service department, helping with unpacking, delivering, and stocking food supplies at the district warehouse and various schools. This experience with the district gave him the skills and opportunity to land his current position.
Gadsden County Superintendent of Schools Elijah Key is proud to have Brown on his team.
“Don consistently demonstrates tenacity, dedication, motivation, and excellence toward all job tasks assigned to him,” Key said.
In his spare time, Brown assists coaches with the Gadsden County High School football team and other district sports throughout the year. He also enjoys helping others in the community by mowing lawns, raking leaves, and carrying groceries.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 55,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).