email@example.com — For Garvin County Community Living Center employee Sheila Dews, the best part of working with disabled individuals is that it does not so much feel like a job, but a calling.
That calling, and plenty of kindness to go around, has earned her recognition everywhere she has worked, the latest in the form of an award of excellence in direct support.
Specifically, Dews was recently named a 2014 Awards of Excellence in Direct Support Services winner through the Developmental Disabilities Services section of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Spending her working hours at the Valley Farmers Market, it was both a shock and a blessing as she has achieved this honor in less than a year with the Pauls Valley entity.
“When Cathy told me, it was a big surprise because there’s several people who’ve worked here for years and I feel like they should have gotten an award,” said Dews, speaking of CEO Cathy Cash. “I’m very honored. It’s very humbling. This is my passion and this is what I was put on this earth to do.”
Dews traces it all back to working with special needs pre-school kids early on. She said she knew it was what she was meant to do and appreciated the little things they offered, even if it was just a smile.
“My heart just melted,” said Dews. “I fell in love.”
In a full circle kind of way, it was actually Dews’ daughter, who works out at the workshop there, that cued her the position was open. It is because early on she welcomed them into her home when her daughter was growing up when she was a caregiver. As a result it caught on and she looks at them as family and not clients.
“She’s been involved in special needs her whole life,” said Dews. “She’s just got that compassion too.”