Shining The Light So Others Can See
October 22, 2010
- 2010 TRADOC Outstanding Employee with a Disability
FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 21, 2010) - She is praised for her initiative and performance and serves as an inspiration to her colleagues. And while Sherry Kidd cannot physically see the joy on her friends' and family's faces, she is the first to say she feels it in her heart.
Her work ethic, along with the example she sets for employees with disabilities, is why Kidd, a member of the Combined Arms Support Command and Sustainment Center of Excellence headquarters and headquarters company, has been recognized as the 2010 Training and Doctrine Command Outstanding Employee with a Disability.
"I think it is absolutely incredible and speaks to her strength and determination throughout a lifelong career of service to the Department of the Army," said Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, CASCOM and SCoE commanding general.
In a congratulatory letter, Lt. Gen. John E. Sterling, TRADOC deputy commanding general and chief of staff, wrote, "Your superb performance is appreciated and is in keeping with the finest traditions of civilian service." He went on to write that the program's purpose is to "publicize the achievements of employees with a disability who provide inspiration and make significant contributions to our mission," and that's exactly what Kidd does.
"I'm very humbled," she said. "This recognition is a blessing, but it's also weird for me because I don't feel disabled. I lost my sight but I'm still the same."
While her comments tell a story of humble gratitude and disregard for her disability, her life story is one of personal fortitude and determination.
Struck with a fatal illness at the age of 25, Kidd spent six months in a coma where, according to her biography, "she died three times - successfully resuscitated twice and after having been declared dead the third time, she miraculously began breathing again on her own."
When she awoke, she was blind, paralyzed from the neck down and fighting organ failure. Doctors told her family she probably wouldn't survive, and if she did there would be no type of meaningful recovery. Kidd defied the odds, and not only survived but regained full mobility while learning to live without her sight.
As a Family Readiness Support Assistant for CASCOM, she performs a wide-range of clerical, technical and administrative tasks and responsibilities in support of Soldiers, family members and civilians. Recognized for her commitment, dedication and hard work, Kidd has never dwelled on her disability.
"I never prayed to get my sight back because I knew there was a reason, and I thought it might be selfish," said Kidd. "Instead, I left it up to the Lord and learned to do everything over again in a different way."
She has sometimes wondered why her eyesight was taken from her. That was until about a week ago when Kidd said she found her answer. "I always wondered why, but now I believe I'm being used to institute change."
The revelation for her occurred recently at an Equal Employee Opportunity meeting where discussion was being held about hiring more people with disabilities. It was then that she realized some of the accommodations that had been made for her over the years were being used to help others with disabilities gain employment.
Kidd has seen a gradual change in the workforce over her 35 years of employment including architectural improvements, accommodations and attitudes.
These changes over the years have resulted in an environment that Kidd truly loves today. "I've never been happier in my civil service career. The folks I work with see me for my abilities and look past my disabilities." Kidd continued, "They don't treat me any different and even give me work at a much higher level, which allows me to shine. They treat me like anyone else."