Mary Beth Posluszny, of Lowe’s; Beth A. Butler, of Lowe’s; and Pamela Zotynia, executive director of ARC of Luzerne County, talk before the annual awards dinner Thursday evening.Don Carey/The Times Leader
PLAINS TWP. – The Arc of Luzerne County, an advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, held its annual awards dinner Thursday night at the Mohegan Sun ballroom.
In addition to the presentation of seven awards, the Arc honored Beth A. Butler, director of diversity and inclusion for the Lowe’s Corp. and the former chairwoman of the U.S. Business Leadership Network.
For the past two years, the Arc of Luzerne County has been working with Lowe’s at the company’s Pittston Township distribution center to provide employment opportunities to persons with disabilities.
The Arc also now works with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 on a program to provide students in their final year of study with a chance to spend a semester training at Lowe’s to gain the type of real-world occupational experience that is so often unavailable to those with disabilities.
There are now 50 people with disabilities working at the Lowe’s distribution center.
The program has been so successful that it is now being used as a model for Lowe’s distribution centers nationally.
Butler thanked the Arc for providing her with the opportunity to be involved with the program. During her experience as the chairwoman for the USBLN, the group focused on a program to provide support for disabled entrepreneurs.
She also relayed her own experiences of having severely limited sight as a child. She recalled fondly her doctor’s advice to her parents to, “treat her just like they would their other children.”
She credits the fact that she was always encouraged to overcome adversity as the reason for her success.
Her childhood and business experience made her incredibly receptive toward the program being conducted by Lowe’s and the Arc, which emphasizes community inclusion with regard to persons with disabilities.
“I’m proud to be a part of an organization that gets it,” Butler said.
After Butler’s speech, awards were presented in recognition of the success and sacrifices of six individuals and the Thomas P. Kokura Employer of the Year, The Cracker Barrel.
• Beth A. Butler, director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Lowe’s Corp.
• Sophira Morris Coburn, Outstanding Child in an Early Intervention Program
• Pam Gregory, John Glen Popple Citizenship Award
• Rachael Barto, Michael Miller Community Service Award
• The Cracker Barrel, Thomas P. Kokura Employer of the Year
• Carl Manfredi, Educator of the Year
• Karen Belli, Sherwood Baker Outstanding Community Award
• Fred Lokuta, Improving Lives Award