By Brig. Gen. James Bonner
Special to GUIDON
Every October, we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month to recognize the ingenuity of people with disabilities and the unlimited potential of America’s workforce inclusive of everyone’s skills and talents.
Our installation relies on the hard work and dedication of our total workforce. People with disabilities are experienced problem-solvers with a proven ability to adapt, and they are integral to the accomplishment of our mission.
During NDEAM, we want to emphasize the unlimited potential of our disabled teammates when barriers are removed for them.
Disabled Americans were required to fight for jobs through much of our history due to unfair assumptions about their capabilities. However, much progress has been made, and this year, we get to recognize two critical milestones in the struggle for the equality of disabled people: the 75th National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In 1945, in the aftermath of WWII, Congress realized that every member of society plays an important role. As a result, they recognized the first week of October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.”
This eventually grew into National Disability Employment Awareness Month and laid the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
At Fort Leonard Wood, we remain committed to ensuring equal employment opportunities for all citizens.
Our workforce is strong because of the diversity brought by our disabled teammates, and it is the responsibility of all leaders to foster inclusive climates to enable their success.
As a major Army installation, we also support a significant veteran population that were disabled in service to our country.
We will continue to support those veterans with the care and treatment that they deserve.
For more information about National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the disability program, please contact the Fort Leonard Wood Disability program manager, Suzette Wilson, at the Fort Leonard Wood Equal Employment Opportunity Office at 573.596.8048.
(Editor’s note: Bonner is the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general.)