People First celebrates Valentine’s Day with Roaring ’20s banquet

Staff photo.

The Roaring ’20s are getting off to a great start in Bryan County. People First Industries this week celebrated Valentine’s Day with a banquet at which many were recognized for their service and also a good time was generally had by all.

More than 160 were in attendance at the Roaring ’20s event held at the Bryan County Community Building with dinner, awards and a dance.

Shea (Right) addressed the crowd at the Roaring ’20s banquet and Duane (Left) received an award for 40 years of service at People First. Photo by Don Hyde.

Shannon Walker, assistant director/office manager, spoke about the evening, one of four celebrations like this through the year.

“We threw a party for our client/employees,” Walker said. “Kendra Ibarra was very instrumental in getting gall together. They love to have a good time and it was just crazy good.

“Our employees love socializing with each other. They need socialization and interaction, pretty much more than anybody else does. And if we can provide a good, safe healthy environment to do that with family and friends, that’s exactly what we want to do.”

People First Industries, formerly known as Sheltered Work Opportunites, has been providing employment and vocational training for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 40 years.

“Everybody got an achievement certificate,” Walker said. “Those who have been here for 10 years or more got a plaque. We also handed out a 35-year plaque and a 40-year plaque.

Nancy (Left) receives an award for 35 years of service from Kendra Ibarra. Photo by Don Hyde.

The organization has six state contracts, which include providing services and supplies to correctional facilities, state facilities, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Durant High School and even the Bryan County Fair. The employees do more than 70 percent of the work for these contracts.

Currently, People First has 27 client/employees and 30 on staff. They celebrate with similar gatherings throughout the year with a Valentine’s Day banquet, Fourth of July friends and family picnic, Halloween dance and family Thanksgiving dinner.

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