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Christel Hurley and Earl Hurley
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My Story: Earl and Christel Hurley

I am the father of a 51-year-old daughter who has a developmental disability. At the time she was diagnosed, she also had a tremendous feeding problem. A lot of the doctors we had seen recommended that she be put into an institution. My wife and I made the decision that was not the route to go.

In 1994, Goodwill Industries Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa took an interest in her and trained her.  She ended up starting to work for StratCom headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base and she’s been with them for 17-plus years now.

Initially, she was just washing rags and that was all they thought she could do, but they soon found out that she was capable of doing many other things. Consequently she’s been promoted and her pay has been raised.

In 2009 she received a Marco award from Goodwill. That same year she ended up winning the Northwest Region Award for AbilityOne, and then she was recognized as a participant in the national award.

My concern is, does the government want us to keep these folks on the dole or do they want to let them to be productive citizens and work in our workforce and end up paying taxes like everyone else? I would hope that they do. In my opinion, over the years the people who end up getting cut first whenever there is a government cut back happens to be the developmentally disabled. The people who have low esteem, low education and people who are just down on their luck — the people that Goodwill serves.

She wants to work. She’s been very good with her hands, and she does like to work. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it. Of course we’ve been worried about her when we pass on, and one of those things we have been concerned about is keeping her employed.  Well so far, Goodwill has kept that employment.

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