For years, Ron Martin has been a familiar face in the mail room at Hamilton County DD Services’ main office on Madison Road. On any given day, Martin is chatting with employees about a variety of topics (often the Cincinnati Reds, his favorite baseball team) while they stop in to pick up and drop off mail.
He’s been working as a support service assistant for the past 15 years. Before moving to the Support Center, Martin worked at Jackson Adult Center. “I didn’t want to stay at Jackson,” he said. “I wanted to have a community job.”
With support from job coaches, he was hired at the HCDDS office, where he works for 20 hours a week. Once a month, Martin and his current job coach, Ed Milano, traverse the halls to gather paper for shredding. He collects the paper in a box placed on the back of his power chair and takes it down to the shredder in the mail room.
“Knowing I can assist Ron being successful means a lot,” said Milano, who has worked in the DD field for 30 years. “I help him get set up, but he can do it by himself.”
Martin has cerebral palsy and limited movement of his arms. He uses a custom tool – a stick with rubber bands twisted around the end – to take the paper from the top of the shredder and feed it through the equipment. He’s been working with Milano for three years – a great partnership Martin says is true teamwork.
“I like what I do, and I like all the people here,” he said. “It feels good to have a job because it feels like I’m needed.”
Milano added their relationship has become so much than job coach and employee. “We’ve developed a real friendship and have a lot of shared interests,” he said. “To be able to join forces and be able to have that sense of community that’s so important in peoples’ lives – it’s great.”