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September 13, 2013

'Role model' trainee to receive Arc award

By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Donald Huckins, a trainee at The Arc Otsego’s Vocational Training Center, will be presented with an award Monday that he’s worked for years to earn.

“It’s a big honor for him, it’s something he’s wanted for a very long time,” said Lynne Sessions, director of community relations for The Arc Otsego.

Huckins is a co-recipient of the 10th annual William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award, which honors excellent performance from disabled individuals working in preferred-source employment.

Huckins has worked as a trainee at The Arc Otsego’s Vocational Training Center for 20 years. In order for a person to receive services from The Arc Otsego, they must have an intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities. Huckins said he doesn’t wish for the exact nature of his disability to be publicized.

The center is a light manufacturing facility, which prepares trainees for work in a variety of fields.

“It’s a way of providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities,” Sessions said.

Sessions described Huckins as a model employee.

“He’s a leader among his peers,” Sessions said. “Every work place needs a role model.”

She also said that Huckins had been trained in a number of skills.

“He has volunteered to learn all these different positions at the vocational training center,” Sessions said. “He doesn’t just work in one place.”

Huckins was nominated for the Joslin Award by staff at The Arc Otsego. 59 people were nominated from across New York this year. Although Huckins has received performance awards before, this is the first year he was nominated for the Joslin Award.

Sessions, “He specifically worked very hard for this award.”

Huckins was pleased with even being nominated.

“I am proud of being nominated for the Joslin Award,” Huckins said in a media release. “I really worked for it. I set my goals really high and I am proud of achieving them.”

Huckins, a history buff who enjoys visiting historical sites and watching the History Channel, said he likes seafood and Chinese food. He’ll receive his award Monday at NYSID’s annual meeting in Saratoga Springs. A short video featuring Huckins will be shown at the awards ceremony, and he will receive $1,500 in prize money and be featured in the NYSID annual yearbook.

Sessions noted that the qualities that recommended Huckins for the award; teamwork, motivation, a desire to improve, are honored by employers regardless of an employee’s disability or lack thereof.

Said Sessions, “It’s wonderful to see someone who’s worked hard recognized.”