VR3: Making a Difference
Q1, Quality One, Quality happens one person at a time
 
VR3  Ready...Reliable...Results September 2015

Fighting spirit leads to employment success

Everrett Land, Vocational ACE (left) and former VR client Rosanna Medlin, who works as a Machine Operator at Eaton Hydraulics in Greenwood.

In one evening, Rosanna Medlin’s life changed. Rosanna knows what happened, but she doesn’t remember it.

She was riding her motorcycle, an activity she really enjoyed.

“I love riding,” she says. “You feel free.”

That evening a dog ran out in front of her. With no time to react, she hit the dog and was thrown off the bike. Her head struck a sign, knocking her helmet off.

Then she hit the pavement.

Two days later she woke up in a hospital intensive care unit. The left side of her body was battered. All of her ribs were broken, as well as her elbow, kneecap and the bones on left side of her face. The optic nerve to her left eye was severed; she could no longer see out of that eye. And she had lost the hearing in her left ear.

Several times doctors had to relieve pressure building up against her brain by draining fluid from her head. Worried that she might need surgery because of swelling around her brain, they brought in a neurosurgeon. Fortunately, he didn’t have to operate.

“The only reason I can tell you the story is because the person that was behind me told the story,” Rosanna says. She has lost the memories of the weeks around the accident. “The doctor said I’d probably never get that back, which is okay with me because I don’t want to remember the accident anyway.”

Remarkably, she was only in the hospital for seven days. Returning home, however, brought new challenges.

“You’ve probably never met a more independent woman than me,” Rosanna says of herself before the accident. “Now, it was like being a baby all over again. I would open cabinet doors and hit myself in the head. For a couple of months my mind was out of it because my brain got jumbled around. And after I was able to get up without a walker, I ran into everything.”

But that wasn’t the worst part.

“I felt like I lost everything in that one moment. I felt like I lost touch with the world,” she says. “I’ve always been in control of myself and in control of the situation around me. Then all of a sudden--bam! Here I was...”

She trails off, remembering.

“But then a friend of mine said you need to go talk with Voc Rehab.” She laughs a little bit as she’s says, “I didn’t even know what Voc Rehab was.”

Everrett Land, Vocational ACE, recalls that when Rosanna first came into the Greenwood office in October of 2013, “she was timid, had no confidence whatsoever, and no idea what the future held for her.”

Rosanna was discouraged about what happened to her and her ability to recover and live a full life.

“She was wounded, and not just physically,” says Stacie Smith, Business Development Specialist. “She had a crisis of conscience.”

Rosanna was surprised when staff told her she would be able to relearn job skills while doing outsource work for local businesses in the work training center.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” she told them. She laughs about it now, but at the time she didn’t think it was possible. Two and a half weeks later, however, she was in the training center, assembling components for Eaton Electrical.

“Here I was with one eye and they had me putting these itty bitty little washers on these itty bitty little screws,” she laughs harder as she describes the work.

Rosanna’s fine motor skills had been affected by her injuries and this type of work, although frustrating at first, helped her begin to get back on track.

Land and the rest of the staff could see the strength and resilience in Rosanna even if she couldn’t, and they provided the encouragement and nurturing she needed.

“She’s an exceptional person,” he says. One vivid memory he has about Rosanna is how she rode her moped to the training center throughout the winter.

“I’d see that and just have to compliment her,” he says about her determination.

In fact, it’s the things that you can’t measure, such as confidence and self-esteem, that Land thinks really stand out about Rosanna.

“Mr. Land kept telling me, ‘You can do it,’” Rosanna says. “He gave me the confidence I needed to come back every day and do this.”

Among the services that Rosanna received were counseling and guidance, a vocational evaluation and work assessment, and job readiness training. Because she was also having trouble with the vision in her good eye, Rosanna received a pair of glasses.

At first, it was hard for her to accept all of this.

“I’ve wanted to pay my way all my life,” she says, “but Mr. Land kept reminding me that VR is here for people who need a bit of help, a nudge in the right direction.”

Smith remembers watching Rosanna’s confidence return, seeing her smile and hold her head up high. By January, she was a totally different person.

“I was back to Rosanna. The one who could do anything. And if you tell me I can’t do it, I’m going to do it twice as good,” Rosanna says firmly and proudly. “That’s how I’ve been all my life.”

Because Rosanna was doing so well in the work training center, Land connected her with the Greer Group, a staffing company specializing in providing workers for manufacturing environments. Through the Greer Group, she found out about a machine operator job at Eaton Hydraulics.

After working at Eaton for three months, the company hired her. At that time, no one at Eaton knew about Rosanna’s wreck, brain injury, or that she couldn’t see out of one eye.

“I was scared to tell them because the work is really meticulous,” Rosanna says. “But I knew I could do it. They saw the quality products I sent out.”

The day Eaton hired Rosanna she told them what had happened. “And they said we have no problem with it.” They have been very supportive of her.

At Eaton, Rosanna builds the rotor units inside hydraulic pumps that are used in large construction equipment, cranes and industrial air conditioners. She also runs the test stand, where she tests pumps to ensure they can withstand operating pressures.

“Eaton is a great place to work,” she says. “They really care for you. Management comes out on the floor to help when we need to meet our quota. I have a wonderful boss and I don’t plan on going anywhere.”

Rosanna gives a lot of the credit for her success to VR. “The bottom line is, if it hadn’t been for Voc Rehab I would not be where I’m at right now.”

“She’s got a fighting spirit,” says Smith. “She’s got a great attitude, and it’s her habit to overcome. She is a strong, resilient, determined person.”

Although Rosanna feels like she’s completely recovered, because of the brain injury, she sometimes has trouble concentrating as well as she used to, and learning new skills takes a bit longer than it used to. Plus, she has aches that weren’t there before. But she doesn’t let any of that slow her down.

Looking at how far she’s come in her life, and especially since that evening when she had the wreck, Rosanna says she feels blessed in life.

“I could do a sob story,” she says. “I had a terrible childhood, my fourteen month old son was killed by a drunk driver, I had cancer twice, and then I had this wreck.”

She pauses. “I don’t think people thought I was going to live through that. But I did. I beat it. If you want something in life you have to work for it.”

She also beat the cancer. And she has two grown sons and lots of grandchildren that she dotes on.

“I don’t dwell on the past,” she says. “It’s the future that I want to see.”

Around the state

DDS psycologist recognized for anti-fraud work

The Atlanta Center for Disability and the South Carolina Disability Determination Services (SC DDS) awarded Craig Horn, psychologist, as the 3rd Quarter FY 15 DDS Anti-Fraud winner. Horn has worked at the Greenville DDS for nearly twenty years.

Horn referred for investigation a claimant who had been receiving benefits for depression and bipolar disorder since 2010. The claimant alleged he was unable to leave home, avoided social interaction, and relied on immediate family members to complete daily activities.

The Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) unit discovered that the claimant drove and shopped independently and carried on conversations with others outside of his family. During an investigation interview, the claimant even reported recently attending a fishing tournament and other recreational activities.

The CDI referral saved more than $152,000, and sparked an investigation of the claimant’s immediate family to combat potential ongoing disability fraud.

The Region IV Anti-Fraud Committee honors Dr. Craig Horn for his years of dedication and continued diligence to battle fraud and/or similar fault in our Social Security Administration disability programs.

DDS processes Social Security Disability Insurance claims as well as Supplemental Security Income claims for the Social Security Administration.

Community involvement: Greenville

Photo (l to r): Piedmont Mental Health Center Director Joe James and Allison King, Chris Bishop, Alice Brown; David Turnipseed, Greenville Area Supervisor; Rhonda Pitts, Holmesview Center Client Services Supervisor.

Holmesview Center Client Services Supervisor Rhonda Pitts and Greenville Area Supervisor David Turnipseed hosted a Lunch & Learn for the management team of Piedmont Mental Health on August 19. The event included a tour of the Holmesview Center and a roundtable discussion and brainstorming session on how to better serve both mental health and substance abuse issues and increase referrals for Holmesview Center.


The Greenville area office hosted a Talent Fair on July 29 that focused on job opportunities in the food service industry. The event gave job ready clients access to a wide variety of employers in that industry, resulting in multiple on-the-job training opportunities and employment.

School partnership in Florence

Photo (l to r): Sherry Ford, Transition Job Coach; Molly Spearman, Superintendent of Education; Mitchell Rouse, Counselor.

Sherry Ford, Transition Job Coach, and Mitchell Rouse, Counselor, participated in the Marion School District 1 Staff District Convocation on August 11th. The Districts 2015 theme is “I am the Change.”

Molly Spearman, SC Superintendent of Education, stopped by the VR booth to support and encourage the partnership between VR and the School District.

Spearman, in her speech to the school staff, identified the challenges students face and focused on the skills they need for college, citizenship and success in the workforce.

Bryant Center recognizes referral champions

The Greenville Area Office referred 149 clients to the Comprehensive Services at the Bryant Center in FY 2015. In recognition of this accomplishment, ensuring that our clients receive the services they need, the Bryant Center presented them with their Referral Champion Award.

“We are always appreciative of all of our referrals to the Bryant Center and wanted to thank our Referral Champions in the Greenville Area Office,” says Jennie Thomas, Bryant Center Area Administrator.

Photo (l to r): David Turnipseed, Greenville Area Supervisor; Counselors Jennifer Hice, Cynthia Hurm, Virginia Hughes; and Jennie Thomas, Bryant Center Area Administrator.

SWAT success in Aiken

Over the past eighteen months, the Aiken VR Office has developed an outstanding relationship with Encore Boat Builders in Lexington. The partnership began with a meeting between Walter Tyler, the Chief Financial Officer of the company, and Freddie Boan, Business Development Specialist. Tyler stressed that the organization had suffered from high turnover due to employees not understanding what is necessary to succeed at the workplace.

After the meeting, the company agreed to work with a VR client who would learn on the job through Skilled Workforce Apprentice Training (SWAT). The client was trained as a welder but had no experience in aluminum welding. Though the SWAT, he learned how to do aluminum welding, and has worked for the company for over a year.

Since then, seven more VR clients have been hired by Encore Boat Builders after each completed a SWAT. When a client has struggled, the company has used the training period to try them in a different position. For example, two clients who have a learning disorder were unable to sew well, but were taught to weld, and now they work in the fabrication area.

Tyler has always been available and willing to give mock interviews, and has also reviewed resumes and provided advice to clients.

Q Quotes

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.

—Marie Curie, physicist and chemist

Did you know...

...that the SCVRA Annual Meeting returns to Greenville for the first time since 1999?

It will be October 14-16 at Embassy Suites, 670 Verdae Boulevard, Greenville, SC 29607.

For more information, visit scvra.net.

Events

Rock Hill
September 22-24 - Bounce Back Workshop.
September 30 - Manufacturing Talent Fair.
  For more information, call 803-327-7106
Columbia
September 9, 12pm-1:30pm - IT Training Center Open House at IT Training Center (building 5002), 1410 Boston Avenue, Columbia, SC 29170.
  For more information, visit contact Michelle Prevost at 803-896-3869
Greenville
October 14-16 - SCVRA Annual Meeting at Embassy Suites-Greenville, 670 Verdae Boulevard, Greenville, SC 29607.
  For more information, visit scvra.net
Aiken
October 22, 11am-1pm - Open House at 855 York Street NE, Aiken, SC 29801. In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
  For more information, call 800-861-9410 (toll free)

Preparing and assisting eligible South Carolinians with disabilities to achieve and maintain competitive employment

VR3 is published by the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD), 1410 Boston Avenue, West Columbia, SC 29171.
The Public Information Office provides all news and information. News material may be reproduced with credit to VR3. In accordance with federal and state laws, SCVRD does not discriminate against any race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability in employment or in provision of services.