By Pfc. Jin Choi (USAG Red Cloud)October 14, 2010
RED CLOUD GARRISON, South Korea -Soldiers and Defense Department civilians gathered to observe the National Disability Employment Awareness Month at the Commanding General\'s Mess here Oct. 8.
October is celebrated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month to remind employers and people seeking jobs about the contributions of employees with disabilities. This year's theme, "Talent Has No Boundaries: Workforce Diversity Includes People with Disabilities" is meant to emphasize the rich diversity and talent that workers with disabilities bring to the workplace.
President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Government to mark the historic 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to increase the hiring of people with disabilities by 100,000 during the next five years.
Margaret Banish-Donaldson, program manager for the Individuals with Disabilities and Disabled Veterans observance, said about 54 million Americans live with a disability.
Before keynote remarks the audience was entertained by the Naruter Community Bell Choir, which consist of nine mentally challenged adults and five social workers.
"I was really touched by their performance and I'm really appreciative to God that I have two hands and two legs," said Cpl. Lee Joon-hee, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud community relations assistant.
Guest speaker Chris Colby, the veterans' service representative for Department Of Veterans Affairs Benefits Delivery at Discharge Center at Yongsan Garrison, talked about the Army's history of employing people with disabilities.
"The Army has always been in the forefront of accommodating persons with disabilities," Colby said. "They will continue their efforts in the area of job restricting, flexible work schedules, reassignments, acquisition and modification of equipment adjustment of examinations, training materials and policies where appropriate and a host of other programs."
For more information on programs for disabled individuals and the many resources available to them, contact the Garrison Equal Employment Opportunity or 2nd Infantry Division Equal Opportunity Offices.