DLA operator keeps solid work ethic, positive attitude despite visual, hearing impairments

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs

Stanley Parham, a refurbisher operator contracted through the Georgia Industries for the Blind to work at the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution at Warner Robins Container Recycling Warehouse, was born with Usher’s Syndrome Type 3, an inherited disease that causes progressive hearing loss and vision impairment.

By age 4, the Columbus, Georgia, native began losing his hearing and had to begin wearing hearing aids. Soon, his vision began to fade as well, leaving him with no peripheral vision and very little central vision.

His loss of sight didn’t stop Parham from doing things he enjoyed.

Years later, Parham took an interest in art, earning a state-level award for his drawings.

At age 26, Parham’s eyesight began to get worse.

Still, Parham wanted to make a living, so he turned to Georgia’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Department of Labor to get help finding a job that suited him.

“I wanted to show my family and friends what blind and deaf people can do,” he said. “I wanted to show them that deaf and blind people don’t just sit back. We can make a living.”

Parham began working at a print shop from 1998 – 2008, when he was laid off due to the economy.

In June 2010, Parham started his job at Georgia Industries for the Blind cleaning and stripping plastic from boxes in the large warehouse where he serves the mission at Robins.

Parham said he has had some difficulties on the job, like seeing certain colors, but he gets the job done with a little help from a co-worker, and has even taught his fellow crew a few things.

“I’m used to being around hearing people and I’ve taught them some sign language to make communication easier,” he said. “We’re equals on the job. We all get along fine. People have their different moods, but all in all, we get along and there’s an equal balance.”

Despite his disabilities, the outgoing 43-year-old maintains a positive attitude, both on and off the job.

“I want to show everyone what deaf and blind people can do,” he said. “Even though I have Usher’s Syndrome, I can do the work just as they can. Without God, we can’t do anything, but with Him, we can, regardless of disability.”