Hughesville resident overcomes disability while being employed
HUGHESVILLE – On Monday, Hughesville resident, Greg Artley celebrated six years of being gainfully employed. But it was no ordinary feat for him, for Greg was born deaf. He cannot hear and he cannot speak, but he loves to work, so much so, he won the Employee of the Year in 2010 from Community Employment Services with Hope Enterprises, Inc.
“When we interviewed Greg for our custodial positions, we knew we wanted to hire him,” said Tom Reid, custodial services manager with Hope Enterprises, Inc. on Reach Road in Williamsport. “He’s a very excitable person because he wants to know everything,” Reid said. Artley currently cleans at 3 different work sites for HOPE. He lives in a group home on Elm Street in Hughesville and reports to second shift three times a week. He cleans 3 commercial sites, two are with the state of Pennsylvania and the other is a privately owned medical company in the TJ Maxx Plaza.
“Greg is very detail oriented and he very rarely misses something at work. If we do find something, he takes it very personally. He has high standards for himself,” added Reid who oversees his job sites. Reid is in charge of HOPE’s custodial services and manages all employees, supervisors, commercial contracts and work sites. His department hired Greg who puts in about 18 hours a week.
His efforts paid off, for Greg has won two prestigious awards so far while employed through HOPE. The first one was runner-up for the Nettie Mann Achievement Award in 2006 through PIBH, an organization that strives to help persons with disabilities achieve a meaningful and productive life, as well as contributing to the economic life of their community. Greg was chosen as runner-up among thousands of co-workers across Pennsylvania.
His second award came last year when he received the Community Employee Service of the Year Award from Hope Enterprises. He was recognized for his achievements and good work ethics at an awards banquet on October 29.
Despite his handicap, he will find a way to communicate with you according to Tom Davis from Community Employment Services. “Greg always does well,” Davis said. “We never have any issues or drawbacks with Greg,” added Reid who explained how well he does on all of his work evaluations.
He can write some words and a lot of assistive technology is being developed for impaired individuals. Greg likes to wear his uniform and cap and he loves entertaining kids with his Rubik’s cube which he usually carries with him. When he was younger, he learned to draw. His parents, John and Christie Artley are originally from Hughesville and moved a lot since Greg’s father was in the Army. “During this time he became fascinated with 18 wheelers,” said his mom who watched Greg draw trucks while they were on the road going back and forth to deaf school in Scranton.
Artlely’s job coach, Bill Bailey said that Greg has excellent work ethics. “He likes things clean,” he said which is why he probably does so well in custodial positions. Prior to this he was a dishwasher at Orlando’s in Muncy.
“We are happy to have him. He is quite an asset to HOPE,” said Bailey.
Greg lives in a group home on Elm Drive in Hughesville with two other deaf persons who are from the area. His mother, Christie, said she was instrumental in getting the home built for her son and started the process with OVR in 1999. “It is the only group home like it in Pennsylvania for the deaf,” she said. It is supervised 24 hours a day through an organization called Signing Places located outside of Philadelphia. Greg supports his rent through his disability income. He and the other residents were fortunate enough to be involved in choosing some of the specifications on the home such as colors and interior materials. It was built by a local contractor.
When asked what he likes best about work, Greg expressed in sign language that he really likes getting his paycheck. He uses his money to go on trips to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and he goes through a lot of printer cartridges too said his mom. He likes to go on the computer and do research on Mack trucks, and so he prints them all out, so he can draw the trucks. It is his favorite past time he told everyone. He gets paid every two weeks and he said he can’t imagine doing anything else. “I would like to continue doing what I’m doing,” said Greg through his interpreter. He was always the best worker in the place no matter where he worked,” said his proud mother. Greg celebrated his 44th birthday this past January.