Kevin Receives Placement of the Year Award

On November 8th, ServiceSource Florida’s 2019 Service Excellence Awards Luncheon honored community partners, businesses, employees, and people with disabilities for their contributions and achievements to creating inclusive communities. This year, our client, Kevin, was given the Vocational Rehabilitation Placement of the Year Award. Having overcome unimaginable obstacles, Kevin’s resiliency and positive attitude has earned him this deserving recognition.

Upon accepting the award, Kevin gave a moving speech about the journey of his life after the accident. He expressed how he wants to inspire hope to those who are afraid and unsure of the next step of recovery and would like them to instead instill a strong foundation of self-worth. He said “Cease thinking about what we don’t have and cannot do. Commence focus on things we are still endowed with and can do. Do not let anyone sell you short. Don’t follow others’ paths, construct your own.”

Congratulations Kevin!

Kevin’s full speech was transcribed and is included below. You can also watch the video taken at the event to listen. We thought it was important to share his inspirational words as he articulates them well and instills a sense of hope and meaning with his thoughts and actions for both people with disabilities and without.

Kevin’s Speech

“First, I am compelled to say thank you to all of the people who aided me on my achievement path. I realize I may seem a little intense giving this speech, but I am actually proud and 100% happy, it is just how I am after the trauma. I would not be here without everyone helping me. My family is the most important thank you I must give out. Let me start with my mother and father. I have immense magnitude and appreciation for all I have in life. Also, other family, my friends that helped support me and guide me through this arduous, successful process, number one example Wagner Faerrara. Any person I didn’t thank in this speech, sorry I didn’t have enough time. I don’t have enough time to list all of the people who guided me, supported me, and assisted me to be here today. Thank you everyone.

All I am about to say in this paragraph is 100% positive. Please no one feel bad or sorry for me. This paragraph is entirely for my fellow disabled people. Despite four months total in a hospital, 50 surgeries, and forced to re-learn every single activity in life, I overcame unimaginable obstacles. Finally, after four plus years, I was able to return to work at Starbucks. Yes, I have disabilities. No, they are not going to get better. Whatever! Move forward, embrace the future. The meaning of this event and award today is encouraging others to return to being normal again. Lets all return to normalcy. Eliminate the word problem – it’s negative. Replace it with the word opportunity – this is positive. See every problem as an opportunity for a solution. I am telling everyone, please we all have the opportunity to get better and improve our lives. Yes, the struggle does suck, but once you get through the seemingly endless introductory obstacles, you begin feasting on the marvelous fruit. Forget about disabilities where we have no power, we can’t control them. Cease thinking about what we don’t have and cannot do. Commence focus on things we are still endowed with and can do. Do not let anyone sell you short. Don’t follow others’ paths, construct your own.

I must give a special thank you to the Florida VR, ServiceSource, employU, Anthony DiCarlo and all others now. Without employU and Anthony’s massive assistance, I would not be at Starbucks today. Stand up Anthony. Again, I am supremely grateful for all that you have done for me, so I can resume being normal despite all issues. Each step of the way, you provided me with the support to be working after four and a half years and nearly dying.

The most important thank you to Starbucks goes out to Thomas and Nikki. Thomas is my district manager. I regrettably don’t possess the proper vernacular to say how much I appreciate and indebted I am to for the opportunity to work at the amazing company, Starbucks. Nikki, my store manager, a more impressive leader than I could have ever dreamed. She accommodated and steered me through the process to becoming a successful barista. One of my disabilities means I do not remember a day of work in my life prior to Starbucks. I cannot recall even one memory of work before Starbucks. Nikki contributed tremendous support plus guidance. She needs her own honor and recognition. Quite assuredly, I realize she doesn’t realize it; however Nikki truly is my hero. I admire Nikki an immense amount. Thank you very much Thomas and Nikki.

One last thing, we are here to help others reach their goals, so let’s help everyone reach their goals, yes? We have problems, whatever! We can still make a better life for ourselves. Thank you very much!”