Pictured (from left to right) Joe Leddy, Founder, Aaron Stone, CRS/recipient, Mike Murtha, Director.

(Lewiston/Auburn, ME) – Work Opportunities Unlimited is pleased to announce that Aaron Stone of Auburn, is the recipient of the Roger LaChapelle Award. Given annually, the award was presented to Stone for excellence in quality job placement, thereby exemplifying how the world of work changes people’s lives.

Founded upon the principle that all people can work, Work Opportunities Unlimited is a community-based, employment service provider that specializes in placing people with disabilities, and job seekers who experience barriers to employment, in competitive work environments.

As a Career Resource Specialist, Stone dedicates his days to breaking down barriers and opening the doors to possibilities, for people with disabilities. He helps prepare people for the workplace and supports them while on the job.

“Aaron made 56 placements last year…that’s an incredible body of work,” says Mike Murtha, Director of Work Opportunities in Auburn. “Aaron’s success is centered on his commitment to the people he serves; he makes every client feel that they are the most important person in the world. He could probably make 300 placements a year, if it was just about the numbers, but it’s not. Aaron’s approach is personalized, he figures out the goals and aspirations of each client and he goes through exhaustive efforts to make a match; to make work happen for the individual.”

Stone’s impact includes placing a young man who is painfully shy and withdrawn (and who never had held a job) at Bath Iron Works as a now “full time” welder, “he is comfortable behind the mask,” to finding a job for a young refugee (now American citizen) from Somalia who is deaf, “I was with him when he opened his first bank account… now, that was a great day.”

“I believe that all people can work and that work is a human right; everyone should be able to access competitive employment,” says Stone. “And if people are asking for help to make that happen, they should get the help they deserve, and they should get my best. It’s as simple as that.”

“Employers are critical to our mission of community based employment,” says Murtha. “Aaron does an incredible job of fostering reciprocal relationships and as a result, businesses love to help him; consequently, they seek us out as a hiring resource in the Lewiston Auburn area and beyond. Aaron does everything so well, and he’s a darn nice guy. This award couldn’t go to a more deserving person.”

Congratulations, Aaron!