ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is here and Altus Air Force Base is a proud supporter and participant. NDEAM was recently established, but the campaign has been going on much longer.
“This awareness campaign has been going on since 1945,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jessica Packard, 97th Civil Engineering Squadron deputy fire chief. “It’s been around for a long time, but hasn’t gained a lot of traction. My goal is to show that these people are still people, we should be treating them as people and the things in life they have to go through can be difficult.”
The theme for this year is #InclusionWorks, highlighting that everyone has something to bring to the workforce.
“It is about highlighting those who have disabilities and showing everyone that including them in the workforce makes things better as a whole,” said Packard. “Nobody wants to be dismissed and pushed off to the side.”
Altus AFB is also hosting several events to honor the disabled and to recognize their daily struggles and challenges.
October 17, 3:15 p.m. at the Youth Center, Crafts With Kids
October 18, 10:30 a.m. at the Library, Crafts With Kids
October 18, 3 p.m. at the Fitness Center, 3-on-3 Wheelchair Basketball
October 21, Wingman Day 400m Disability Run
October 26, 7 a.m. at the Fitness Center, 5k Scoliosis Run
These events are meant to show some of the things that people with disabilities have to face and to help raise awareness.
“Be aware of your surroundings and give the utmost respect,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Boyles, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels journeyman. “You never know what someone has been through or what they’re going through. This could happen to anyone. We should show respect to people that went through challenges and didn’t give up.”
On record, 3.6 million veterans had a service-connected disability rating as of 2013. This month is meant to raise awareness for the disabled and merging them into the workforce. For more information please contact Tech. Sgt. Packard at (580) 481-6333.