Although Daniel Miller has had 22 surgeries, respiratory problems and depth perception issues, he doesn’t let his disabilities stop him from cheering on his favorite team every time they play.
Miller, who is now 30 years old has been part of the Scioto County Developmental Disabilities family since he was in preschool.
“He is the sweetest and kindest young man you can find,” Millers mother Kim said.
“Once he gets to know you, he wants to give you a hug,” Theresa Rowland of Scioto County Developmental Disabilities said. “He is such a gentleman, as he loves to open the car door for other women or me.”
Daniel’s mother began working with Scioto County Developmental Disabilities not long after he began preschool to keep an eye on her son. She started volunteering at SCDD and then became a full-time employee. Throughout Daniel’s time at SCDD, he has experienced speech issues and was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Daniel graduated from the Vern Riffe School in 2012 and then began working at the Star Inc. workshop, which is still under the SC Developmental Disabilities board. Kim said the thought of Daniel being alone was scary for her even though he had already graduated. It was a big deal for him, and she could no longer walk by his classroom and look in on him.
“I know many people may not understand and think I worry too much, but Daniel does have issues that most young adults do not have, and I’m always going to worry about him,” Kim said. “You want people to be super accepting of our guys, and you hope they are. It’s scary out there, and when they started saying Daniel was ready to go out and get a job, it was scary.”
When it came time for Daniel to get a job, Kim said she had her hesitations about it.
“Oh, I don’t think he’s ready,” She said.
Kim realized that while she may not have been ready Daniel was. Miller and Rowland said that after a meeting with Judge Jerry Buckler, Daniel went to work in his office. That was five years ago.
“Judge Buckler is a wonderful man, but for Daniel to go work in that huge building was very difficult for me to accept,” Kim said. “I was super excited, super scared and crying all the time.”
Daniel was so excited to be working there. Miller said that everyone in Judge Buckler’s court treat Daniel like gold and he works hard and loves his job. She told the story about how Daniel’s big job is paper shredding and they had to get Daniel an industrial-strength paper shredder because he started with just one of those that fit over a trash can and it just couldn’t keep up with Daniel.
Daniel even has a nameplate at Judge Buckler’s office.
Daniel works at the office one day a week and is always excited to go to work. His enthusiasm for the job has never lessened or changed in the past five years. Kim shared the staff has even changed their Christmas party to celebrate Daniel’s birthday, which is in December. Instead of buying gifts for an office exchange they buy him birthday presents.
“He has just thrived down there,” Kim said.
Miller explained that she knows that he has done so well because of the many years he has been with the Scioto County Developmental Disabilities program.
Rowland said that once a child is one of theirs, they can stay with them until they no longer want to be part of the program. Daniel still works through the Star workshop on the days when he does not work for Judge Buckler. He is part of their IMPACT team and does a lot.
Daniel loves routines and keeps calendars and everyone in line with their appointments. He likes to be involved in the community and goes to the nursing homes to sit with the elderly.
Daniel is always looking forward to going to work and tells his mother that he loves his life.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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