Disabled Custodian at Airport Earns State Honor

May 4, 2012
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Rogue Valley resident Adam May has autism
By Hannah Guzik
for the Tidings
August 23, 2011 2:00 AM

A Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport custodian who struggled for years to find work because he has autism has won a state honor for his job performance. Central Point resident Adam May, 31, was named the Oregon Rehabilitation Association’s 2011 Worker of the Year at a ceremony last month in Bend. “Adam’s work ethic and great attitude contribute to making him an outstanding employee at the airport,” said Becky Simpson, CEO of Pathway Enterprises Inc., who nominated May for the award. “He loves his job, and it shows.” May landed the job through Pathway, an Ashland-based nonprofit that helps the developmentally disabled and veterans find housing and employment.

He has worked at the airport for the past year, vacuuming carpets, cleaning windows and picking up trash.
“I like the vacuuming and I like showing the other workers what to do,” he said Friday.

May is now helping to train another Pathway airport custodian, said supervisor Dave Kennedy.

“Everything we ask him to do he does willingly,” he said. “He’s been willing to learn, and once he does he does a good job.”

May grew up in the Rogue Valley and graduated from Crater High School in 1999. In addition to his regular shifts at the airport, he helps his father run a cattle ranch in Central Point.

About 50 nonprofits are part of the Oregon Rehabilitation Association, Simpson said. The Worker of the Year award is designed to show “the ability of persons with disabilities to make positive contributions to society through work, as well as the positive impact that work can have on their quality of life,” according to the association.

May said he was surprised and pleased to win the statewide award.

“I felt pretty good about getting the award,” he said. “I guess I’ve been doing very well vacuuming and doing garbage wipe-down and clean-up.”

Reach reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-776-4459 or email hguzik@mailtribune.com.