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Area legislators observe Disability Employment Awareness with local employee

Sawyer County Record - 7/16/2017

Sen. Jerry Petrowski and Rep. Jim Edming on June 30 visited Ryan Nadelhoffer at Great Lakes Renewable Energy as part of the Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign organized each year by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.

The campaign coordinates visits between legislators and their constituents with disabilities. During the visit, Ryan's legislators saw community-integrated employment in action and learned more about the value it brings to the employee, employer and greater community. On the eve of the visit, attendees at the Hayward Chamber of Commerce Business After Five gathering were informed about the upcoming visit, building community awareness of the Take Your Legislator to Work event.

The legislators took a tour of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy warehouse and plant. After the tour Nadelhoffer showed them how he packages wood cooking pellets in 20-pound bags, loads up pallets, tapes and shrink wraps them, and prepares them for shipment all over the United States. The president of Great Lakes Renewable Energy then had a picnic in honor of the occasion. At the picnic the guests sampled barbecue meat cooked over a variety of types of cooking pellets.

"Watching the pride Ryan took in his work reminded me of something my Dad repeated to me often - that there is dignity in work," Petrowski said. "That's why these community integration programs are so important."

Edming added, "It was fantastic to meet Ryan and see first-hand his passion for his work and dedication to his job. I have been able to take part in multiple visits with the Take Your Legislator to Work program around the 87th District. The impact community integrated employment has had on these folks lives is amazing to see."

When asked what he likes best about his job, Nadelhoffer said, "I like to be active and working here keeps me busy. I enjoy making money and being more independent."

Job developer Tysa Goold said, "Ryan loves the physical side of the job. He likes to be with others, and he's staying healthy."

When people with disabilities work and earn, they reduce their dependence on public benefits.

With his earnings Nadelhoffer has bought a 4-wheeler and after work, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend.


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