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Improving The Lives Of Persons With Disabilities One Ramp At A Time

Here at PORTCO we seek to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.  One small improvement that will make a profound difference on the level of quality employment we offer to our employees took place this week.

For some time, we have wanted to replace a failing accessibility ramp that many of our employees use to access their work site at our Portsmouth headquarters.  The ramp was made of wood and showed noticeable areas of rot.  The old ramp design was narrow and outdated.  The instability of its integrity deemed this old ramp a danger to those who were brave enough to use it.

The PORTCO team was able to combine donations from you, our loyal supporters, with grant funds awarded by KOVAR, and a generous donation from STHIL to provide a new ramp.  With the help of Mobility 101, the old wooden ramp was removed and replaced with a shiny, new, safe accessibility ramp.  Now, individuals with mobility challenges can safely make their way to and from work at the main headquarters.  While the previous ramp was inadequate for some mobility devices, the new ramp boasts a wider space for improved access for more mobility devices.  The new ramp is made of durable metal, meaning it will last for many years – providing safe passage to and from work for many peoples with disabilities.

Thank you, 101 Mobility, STIHL, KOVAR, and our many charitable donors who continue to help PORTCO live out our mission to improve the lives of persons with disabilities!

New Accessibility Ramp After Renovation

New Accessibility Ramp After Renovation

Old Accessibility Ramp Before Renovation

Old Accessibility Ramp Before Renovation

Meet The PORTCO Team: Athena “Nena” Gerhart – Volunteer Spotlight

PORTCO’s mission is no small feat.  In order to achieve the mission

to embrace diversity, erase barriers and bridge individuals with differing abilities to their communities through quality employment and training opportunities while providing exceptional services to our stakeholders

it takes a team of dedicated employees, a group of invested corporate and individual financial donors, and of course, an army of passionate volunteers.

Athena “Nena” Gerhart is one such volunteer.  As Nena had the pleasure of meeting many people with disabilities and hearing their stories of overcoming challenging obstacles, she became inspired.  Through these stories of inspiration, a flame was sparked in Nena to join the cause – assisting individuals with disabilities achieve their professional goals.

Like many of our volunteers at PORTCO, Nena divides her time between her career, and family, and volunteering.  She found the process simple and easy to apply to become a PORTCO volunteer – allowing flexibility as she manages her many roles.

Most recently, Nena volunteered with a painting project at PORTCO headquarters.  Nena, in conjunction with Water’s Edge Church, selected PORTCO as one of their projects during their Love Week 2018 event.  Several members of the Water’s Edge Church community linked arms and grabbed brushes to paint a breezeway at PORTCO headquarters.  Their efforts saved PORTCO hundreds of dollars and beautified a space that many will walk through.

Nena sees how PORTCO has taken steps to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities as well as their communities.  Her passion to see that every person be valued and included in society continues to fuel her flame of volunteerism.

If Nena’s story has encouraged you to donate your time, energy, or talents in support of PORTCO’s mission and vision, please apply to become a volunteer today!

Meet The PORTCO Team: Millet Fadoul – Employee Spotlight

Millet Fadoul is an integral member on the PORTCO team.  His passion to help provide job opportunities for people with disabilities and see them succeed in their jobs has led him to several roles in the Hampton Roads community.  On the PORTCO team, Millet first worked to help provide job opportunities for people with disabilities.  By serving as the Director of Contracts, Mr. Fadoul supervises activities with PORTCO’s AbilityOne and independent contractors.  AbilityOne contracts are a critical chapter of the PORTCO story.  With roots back to 1938, the AbilityOne program offers the opportunity to award federal government contracts for goods and services to agencies that employ people with disabilities.  Across the country, this program has provided employment for thousands of people with disabilities for fair market value goods and services.  PORTCO has worked hard to earn many AbilityOne contracts both in Hampton Roads and across the U.S.

Presently, Millet is shifting from his role as Director of Contracts into a Program Specialist role.  In this new capacity, he will work to ensure greater success for the individuals with disabilities whom he has helped to provide employment opportunities.  Millet will create vocational training and support programs for both PORTCO employees and clients.  These training and support structures will further enhance the success of the employment partnership.

Millet’s passion for individuals with disabilities has not gone unnoticed.  Not only do we value his efforts on the PORTCO team, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) has also taken note.  Millet was recognized for his exemplary work and effort in employing high school students with disabilities to provide custodial services at the York County Beach during the summer.

After hours in the warm months you can find Millet hanging out with his family, and new puppy on the beach.  Once college football season starts you will find Millet cheering on his Ohio State Buckeyes.