Employer honored for commitment to hiring those with disabilities

Michael Hill, who has worked 25 years at Kroger, was among those recently recognized during an awards event.

The Martinsville/Henry Employment Resource Network honored an area employer for their outstanding commitment to hiring and supporting people with disabilities in the workplace.

An awards event on Oct. 22 included honoring Tracy Drain at Kroger and her work, specifically in employing Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services candidates at the Martinsville and Rocky Mount locations.

The awards event is part of a series of activities across Virginia held in celebration of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Drain, Assistant Store Personnel (ASP) of Kroger, was keynote speaker. She was presented the Champion of Disability Employment award, which honors the best of the best. Businesses across the state employ people with disabilities but many such as Drain, go a step beyond, according to her nomination from Martinsville Community Workforce agencies. The nomination added that Drain promotes an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusivity.

Danny “Superfly” Dunford, a 4-year employee at Kroger, was among employees recognized at a recent awards ceremony.

During the presentation, Drain referred to the Kroger values of integrity, inclusion and diversity to support their interview process and management’s focus on finding the best fit candidate, while trying to ensure the employee has the tools and services available to succeed.

Courtesy Clerk Michael Hill was recognized during the zoom meeting for having celebrated 25-years of service with Kroger in September. He was originally the first placement in Henry County with a job coach.

Courtesy Clerk Danny “Superfly” Dunford also was recognized for his 4-years of service and how his acknowledgement to Kroger customers builds brand loyalty.

This event also helped raise awareness of businesses that recognize the value added when employing people with disabilities.

Beth Groff, Business Development Manager for DARS who covers a large portion of southwest Virginia, noted the importance of businesses to consider possibilities as opposed to disabilities. As a certified Windmills trainer, Groff provides a variety of disability employment related workshops for businesses and/or agencies who want to diversify their workforce and change attitudes towards including people with all abilities.

Donna Martin -DRS manager, presents an award to Tracy Drain (seated) of Kroger.

For more information, contact Beth.Groff@dars.virginia.gov.

This year is the nation’s 75th observance of NDEAM, which is administered by the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The observance culminates the Department’s commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For more information, visit www.vadars.org


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