Donald Lamon is thrilled to be working on machinery again as the newest employee at Cascade Garden Equipment. Owner Bob Peabody is equally thrilled to have a dependable and skilled mechanic who not only brought his own tools but a lift, workbench and other amenities that will stay with the business.
How did they get so lucky?
The common thread is Job Developer Marilea Sawyer who goes door-to-door in the business community seeking opportunities for people in St. Vincent de Paul's Self-Sufficiency Services. At Cascade she hit the jackpot: a busy employer with a job opening but no time to screen a pile of applications, let alone schedule and conduct interviews. "It's about time," he said by way of greeting.
Marilea had two good candidates, and Donald Lamon was judged best qualified to step in just ahead of the spring rush. But that's not all.
Donald is an Oregon Preferred Worker, meaning that he suffered an on-the-job injury that caused permanent disability. The State pays a portion of his wage and waives other employer costs for a period of time, and has equipped Donald to do the job regardless of disability.
In 2007, Donald prepared to prime an irrigation pump for its first spring use.
He woke up in the hospital, where he had been taken after his daughter found him lying unconscious 10 feet from the pump. 440 volts of electricity had coursed through his body and out the bottoms of his feet, causing exterior burns and invisible injuries that still manifest themselves with pain, weakness or numbness.
None of it dampened Donald's passion for work. He was enrolled in Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services, which referred him to St. Vincent de Paul and Marilea.
"This has worked out great," said Bob Peabody. "Don is a perfect fit."
Donald agrees. "Everybody has been a blessing to me," he said. "I love being back to work."