EATON — L&M Products celebrated Disability Awareness Month with an awards presentation on Tuesday, March 30.
The event was held at the Covenant of Peace Church in Eaton. The event provided an opportunity for individuals attending L&M to be recognized by the community, local businesses, L&M staff, family and friends. L&M management also took the opportunity to recognize Timken Steel as Business of the Year.
The focus of the evening was recognizing over 100 individuals with abilities. Some choose to spend their time at L&M working, others volunteer in the community or just hang out with friends. Each individual possesses abilities and L&M continues to work hard to help them identify those abilities.
During the evening, individuals who attend and work at L&M were recognized for personal achievements and years of service. This year the personal achievement award was presented to Chris Moore. He was recognized for his willingness to learn assembly jobs, work at a variety of worksite assignments and assist other individuals during community outings. In 2015, L&M partnered with Timken Steel to provide onsite janitorial services five days a week. Moore pursued this position and inquired daily until he was chosen for the assignment. He arrives each morning with a smile on his face, safety gear in tow, and does an outstanding job.
Chris Ratliff was also recognized at this year’s presentation as Employee of the Year. He joined the L&M team in 2014 and instantly became a friend and role model for others. Ratliff was very inquisitive and quickly mastered the in-house assembly work. When given a trial opportunity at the Henny Penny worksite, he was quickly recognized for his work skills and asked to join that work crew permanently.
During the annual award presentation, L&M also recognizes a local business that has provided opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The 2015 Customer of the Year award was given to Timken Steel. In 2014, L&M Products and Timken Steel began a relationship that would support persons with disabilities in community work opportunities. Six individuals were given work opportunities at the Eaton plant. In 2015, Timken approached L&M for janitorial needs which provided yet another community work opportunity. Jeremy Linder and his family attended the event to accept the award for Customer of the Year.
All individuals attending L&M were recognized for their years of service with the presentation of certificates and plaques. Four individuals were recognized for 40 or more years of service at L&M. Many other long-time employees were also recognized including five individuals with 30-plus years, 17 with 20-plus years and 20 with 10 or more years.
L&M Director Terry Stevens closed the ceremony by discussing plans to move all L&M operations to the new location at 1407 North Barron Street, previously the Eaton Church of the Brethren. Stevens announced plans to name this location the Wagner Center in honor of Doris Wagner.
Before passing away in 2012, Wagner spent time daily with individuals at the L&M facility. She came in to spend time with her grandson, but always made time for everyone else. Known to most as “Grandma,” she always had plenty of love, words of encouragement and hugs for those attending L&M including staff members. Just as Wagner assisted her grandson with integration into different activities and groups within L&M, Stevens reported the new facility was purchased to create more integration opportunities. Plans for the new facility will welcome community members into the welcoming environment for meetings, activities and events.