Michael Stasny – Unsung Hero

Michael Stasny works for Bright Horizons in Craigsville. His work during the pandemic has earned him recognition as an Unsung Hero by the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).

Michael does janitorial work with a crew from Bright Horizons at Laurel Creek Hardwoods in Richwood. Bright Horizons is a community rehabilitation program in Nicholas County that has several janitorial contracts in the area, and Michael works through one of those contracts.

Diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder at the age of seven, Michael was referred to DRS when he was a sophomore in high school so that he could obtain services that would help him transition from school into a job after graduating.

Individuals with autism tend to like a stable routine and have difficulty picking up on social cues. Michael worked with DRS Rehabilitation Counselor Sarah Long while in school and after he graduated from Richwood High in 2019. Through a lot of career exploration, a community-based assessment, life skills training and job search assistance, Michael found the job at Bright Horizons.

He started working in February 2020 and was just getting used to the work and the routine when the pandemic hit. With that came different safety protocols, including taking his temperature every day, wearing masks and sanitizing his hands more frequently, as well as altered work schedules and tasks that involved increased disinfecting of items at his jobsite.

Long nominated Michael for the Unsung Heroes recognition because of his behind-the-scenes role as an essential worker helping to keep others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Long, Michael is a hard worker, and he adapted very quickly to the changes that came along with the pandemic. He maintains a positive attitude and a willingness to help others.

Michael considers himself to be shy but is a happy person. He does not worry about catching COVID-19, and he enjoys his work.

Michael is very pleased about the Unsung Hero nomination, indicating that it was an honor just being nominated.