2018 Team Member of the Year:
In his 30s, Matt realized that his disability was keeping him from holding down a steady job. Matt was diagnosed with ADHD, a condition that inhibits his focus and concentration for long periods of time.
“My diagnosis is one of those things that you wouldn’t think was life-altering, but for whatever reason, it kept me from staying at any job.”
While doing odd jobs, he kept recalling something his doctor said when presenting his diagnosis: “The effect of whatever you’re diagnosed with can be a disability on its own.” One day his mother stumbled onto an opportunity with Global Connections to Employment (GCE), and he applied for a job at Joint Base Lewis-McChord – Washington. A caseworker at the Department of Vocational Resources helped facilitate the process. Today, despite the challenges of his disability, his GCE boss, Don Chandler, says Matt is brilliant.
“Matt is a really smart guy. You can ask him any technical question, for instance about software or IT stuff, and he has an answer. I really believe if he went on Jeopardy, he would win big!”
Matt started as a dining room attendant in 2010, then became a shift leader before being promoted to supply clerk. He drives a supply vehicle each day and meets with building managers and vendors to ensure that eight buildings have the necessary supplies to support the military operation there. He communicates well via email, in-person and on the telephone to make sure invoices are processed and orders are on time. He understands software programs and helps his co-workers with Excel spreadsheets and similar tasks.
“At first, I was paranoid about letting things run out, but now I do a lot of different things. I tell people that if it’s not in someone else’s job description, it’s in mine!”
Matt’s job has taught him about purchasing, accounting and working with others. His job has shown him that he can do more than he thought.
He thinks it’s important for people to understand that a disability is not always visible, but that doesn’t mean someone isn’t working their hardest to be independent and hold down a job.
“When I walk through the buildings, I take pride in the fact that I worked hard that day. Working hard at something cultivates your self-confidence and the confidence other people have in you.”