The Dawson County Board of Education awarded Ingles Store Manager Jim Young with the Exceptional Advocate Award during the board’s regular meeting July 7.
The Exceptional Advocate Award, created in 2007 by Dawson County’s Director of Special Education Lonnie Trahan, celebrates individuals who have contributed to the educational development of special needs children.
“Last year’s recipient was Pam Gross, a volunteer and mother of a special needs child. This year we selected Mr. Young,” said Trahan.
“He’s done a lot of things, like donating food and refreshments for our (special education) faculty and staff meetings. But most importantly he helps take the skills that we teach children in class and helps them practice and apply those skills in a real world work environment. Mr. Young has had children come into Ingles and work with him.
He’s gone even beyond that and hired some of these children who have become productive adults,” Trahan added.
“I don’t think we understand or appreciate what lengths they go to sometimes to help do things with our kids,” said Dawson County Superintendent of Schools Nicky Gilleland, commenting on Young’s, and volunteers like him, who make great strides towards helping special needs children succeed in Dawson County.
Young accepted the award graciously, stating that adding special needs children to his roster of Ingles employees is a great pleasure.
“It’s very encouraging to me to see the kids come into the stores to work. It seems like some of these children are more task-on than some of my regular employees. They’re loving kids that look forward to coming in and seeing us and we look forward to having them in here. We look forward to doing this for many more years,” said Young.
E-mail Adam C. Stapleton at firstname.lastname@example.org.