An Award for Billy

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“Mrs. Schulz, this is Alice at Food City…”   (my heart stops: what’s wrong?). “Billy is getting an award this afternoon at 3:00; I thought you would like to be here.”

Would I? I called Mary and we met at Food City a little before 3:00. Billy saw us and declared, “Mom, I getting a ward!” He was beaming as he led us to the meeting room at the back of the store. Chairs were arranged for seating and refreshments were placed on tables: chips, dips, vegetables, fruit -a generous assortment. Billy sat on the front row with his friend Michelle, I sat behind them, and Mary found a place where she could take pictures unobtrusively.

Brandon, the store manager, explained the awards to be granted for community commitment and for length of time employed at Food City. Billy was called to the front and presented with a pin representing ten years of employment at Food City, a chain of over 100 grocery stores in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. It is a beautiful pin with 3 small rubies and a diamond. Billy accepted the pin with a big grin on his face, sat down and showed it to Michelle.

With tears running down my cheeks, I recalled the difficulty of our moving from North Carolina to Tennessee ten years ago, the anxiety of  finding a job, learning new skills and trying to avoid stressful situations. I thought of Jonathan, the friend who taught Billy the unforeseen  ropes and offered his friendship.

And I thought of Billy’s work experience: 21 years at Hunter Library in North Carolina and 10 years at Food City. That represents an employment record to be envied by anyone.

Not bad for a man who was diagnosed “trainable” as a child.







7 Responses to “An Award for Billy”

  1. Tom Schulz Says:

    Wow! What a wonderful moment! My brother Billy is a constant source of inspiration. I would not be the person that I am today where it not for Billy’s presence. And Jane’s presents.

  2. Jane B. Schulz Says:

    Thanks Tom. You taught both of us.

  3. Jill O'Connor Says:

    Congratulations Billy – that is a wonderful work record, and a well deserved award.
    Jill (in Australia)

  4. Elaine Ross Says:

    Billy, I had already given you an award in my heart .It is wonderful for others to see the value that you have in this world. You are an example to me of living a life of more when some might have thought your life would be less. You are truly “more than a conqueror” !!!!!!!!! Keep on Billy, we all need you. I love you, Elaine

  5. Jane Schulz Says:

    Jill, we love hearing from our friends in Australia! We would like to know what kinds of jobs adults with disabilities are performing in Australia.

    Thanks for your interest in Billy! Sincerely, Jane

  6. Jane Schulz Says:

    Elaine, you are always so affirming! Friends like you give us the encouragement we need. We love you too! Jane

  7. teresa rogerson Says:

    Wow Everyone, I am so touched. Billy has snuck up on me, I am now remembering my few but remarkable interactions with him, and I see that I have been so spoiled lately, so caught up, so in the dark! Obviously his influence will span many years both in life and after life, and dang if I can’t hold back some major tears of gratitude right now. Hugs and bigger hugs to you Jane, Tom, Sheila, Mary, ISaac, Carrie. And the World. Tallresa.

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