ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE — National Disability Employment Awareness Month is here and Altus Air Force Base is a proud supporter and participant.
While the monthly designation recently was established, the campaign has been underway much longer.
“This awareness campaign has been going on since 1945,” said 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 under the hashtag #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,” Packard said. “Nobody wants to be dismissed and pushed off to the side.”
Other base events designed to honor the disabled and to recognize their daily struggles and challenges on Altus Air Force Base include:
Crafts with kids at 3:15 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Youth Center, 308 N. First St., Building 1866;
Crafts with kids at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Library, 109 E Ave., Building 65;
A 3-on-3 wheelchair basketball game at 3 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Fitness Center, 308 N. First St.; and
A 5k Scoliosis Run at 7 a.m. Oct. 26 at the Fitness Center.
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 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 Packard at 580-481-6333.
Reach Airman Jackson Haddon at 580-481-7700.