Larry Skinner, Kansas Elks Training Center for the Handicapped, Inc., Wichita, KS
Living in Wichita, Kansas, Larry Skinner could have sought work at an aircraft company and earned $20 an hour. But Larry prefers to work where his heart leads him and he has done just that for the last 22 years.
The NAC selected Larry Skinner of Wichita, Kansas, as its 2007 National Direct Support Professional of the Year, and Larry was on hand in San Diego to receive this distinguished honor. In presenting the award to Mr. Skinner, ANCOR President Peter Kowalski summarized Larry’s qualifications and perspective on his work.
“There are two words that Larry won’t tolerate at work…’I can’t’,” Kowalski said. “In 22 years of service, Larry Skinner has used extraordinary patience, creativity and an enduring commitment to make hundreds of people believe that they can.”
A vocational trainer at ANCOR-member KETCH, Larry has foregone better paying jobs to support and train people with disabilities for more than two decades. The touching element that distinguished him was the uncanny insight he brings to his work. DSPs are known for their big hearts, extraordinary compassion and empathy, but Larry Skinner has added another dimension. As an example, in order to teach a blind man to do his job, Larry donned a blindfold and taught himself how to perform the tasks he wanted to teach this gentleman. According to Larry, his payoff came years later when this man was hired at a local photo equipment company and did very well. Larry accepted his award with his wife, Ginger, and KETCH President and CEO Ronald Pasmore, in the audience. In addition to thanking his wife and everyone at KETCH.
Larry noted that while his job can be difficult at times, “even my worst day can’t take away any of the pride I feel each time I help someone with a disability master a skill they might once have thought was impossible.”
Larry received two standing ovations from the ANCOR membership.
2007 DSP State Honorees