Norman’s Peter J. Broussard Jr. Honored with Oklahoma ‘Governor’s Disability Employment Awards of Excellence’
Targeted News Service
October 29, 2014 — The Oklahoma Department of Human Services issued the following news release:
Sixteen individuals from across the state, five employers and two prominent media outlets were honored during the annual “Governor’s Disability Employment Awards of Excellence” recently held at the Phillips Pavilion on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City. KOCO-TV Channel 5 Anchor Paul Folger emceed the event.
Originally created by former Governor and First Lady George and Donna Nigh 29 years ago, the awards recognize individuals with disabilities with a Governor’s commendation for “Outstanding Achievements in Employment.” One of this year’s winners included Norman’s Peter J. Broussard Jr., who received his award from Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge and Oklahoma Department of Human Services Director Ed Lake.
Joan Blake, a deaf-blind specialist and vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, nominated Broussard Jr. for the award. She said there was a time when Broussard Jr. wasn’t sure if he could work a full-time job.
“Peter, who is deaf-blind and once received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), has spent the past year pursing his own American dream by working as a full-time mat cleaner at Cintas,” Blake said. “He has not only overcome the negative preconceptions of the hearing-sighted world, he now feels just like any other man with a family to support.”
She said Broussard Jr. is no longer on SSI. Instead, he’s supporting his family with his own paycheck and now has company benefits, including insurance, paid vacations and a retirement plan.
“Peter, with the help of the recently formed Support Service Providers (SSP) program, has been able to participate in more community activities independently,” Blake said. “Some of these activities include going to church and Deaf-Coffee-Chats on his own, and participating in social activities at his workplace.”
She said that last June, Broussard Jr. was chosen as a spokesperson for the Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week.”
“He has become a role model and advocate for others with deafness, deaf-blindness and other disabilities.”
The Governor’s Disability Employment Awards of Excellence competition and program is co-sponsored by the Governor’s Office, the Oklahoma DHS Developmental Disabilities Services, the Oklahoma DRS and the Oklahoma Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst. Award winners are annually selected by a panel of public servants and volunteers who either serve people with disabilities or represent organizations that provide direct care for them daily.