$10,000 Matching Pledge Challenge to Benefit Rockbridge Area Occupational Center

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RAOC Mobile Crew Worker Russell Mikenas

The people of Rockbridge Area Occupational Center (RAOC), an organization that gives gainful employment to physically, emotionally, or intellectually handicapped county residents, think that there might be Christmas in July. A generous, anonymous benefactor has challenged the community to match a pledge of up to $10,000 by the end of August. Roy Funkhouser, the Executive Director of RAOC, says that this gift comes at a crucial time for RAOC. He states, “We have lost light manufacturing subcontract work to both automation and to work being sent overseas. We are regrouping and venturing into new avenues in order to continue our mission to offer employment to adults with disabilities. As we begin to develop these new ventures, we need assistance to fund new equipment and to sustain our current operations. “ Funkhouser feels that this donation and its matching funds will make a significant difference in the Center’s ability to continue to provide meaningful work for its employees.

Funkhouser also has serious concern about the van that takes RAOC’s mobile crew and their equipment out into the community to do yard maintenance that includes mowing, mulching, pruning, light painting and repair work. The van has many miles on its odometer and has needed many repairs in the last few months. Funkhouser states that it is only a matter of time before the van will need to be replaced with a used vehicle that is more reliable. He hopes that donations will help to offset the cost of such a major purchase.

Board member Kent Wilson adds that RAOC, its staff, its board members, its many employees and their families are all looking forward to new plans and new opportunities for work. And, Wilson says, “There is also hope that the community will step up to the challenge of matching the $10,000 pledge and at the same time help to insure that ROAC’s 45 year history of work will continue to go forward to benefit the residents of Rockbridge County.”

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