Samantha Stutler – Unsung Hero

Samantha Stutler, a 22-year-old young woman from Parkersburg, is being recognized as an Unsung Hero by the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) for her work during the pandemic.

Samantha is a former DRS consumer and works on the mobile janitorial crew at SW Resources in Parkersburg.

DRS began working with Samantha when she was a senior at Parkersburg High School after a transition coordinator referred her for assistance with helping her to prepare for life after graduation. Samantha received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) around the time she was in middle school. She had a lot of trouble staying focused and completing tasks, as well as difficulty with reading comprehension, math skills and interpersonal communication.

Through DRS' pre-employment transition services program, Samantha participated in a community-based assessment, where she got to try different jobs to see what she liked, and she was very interested in janitorial work. A work skills assessment helped to determine if Samantha had the skills for the job. Through work adjustment training at SW Resources, she learned work skills like being on time, staying on task and following instructions. Through life skills training, she learned about money management, budgeting and the importance of presenting yourself appropriately at work.

During her training, a janitorial position opened up at SW Resources so Samantha applied and was hired for the job. After being hired, they taught her skills specific to the job, including the types of cleaners and chemicals that can be safely used together and how to mix them.

As an employee on the mobile janitorial crew, Samantha travels with her supervisor and other crew members to different office buildings in the Parkersburg area. She starts her day at 2 PM and works until they finish, which can be as late as midnight. They clean up to seven different buildings a day, depending on the contracts and their schedule.

With the pandemic, Samantha continued working the whole time, but her hours were significantly reduced because many of the office buildings SW Resources cleans were closed because of the stay-at-home order. The pay cut she incurred due to the reduced hours has probably been one of the most stressful aspects of the pandemic for her. Paying the rent and utilities is difficult enough without the added burden of lost wages.

At her job, Samantha and the other crew members must wear masks during their entire shift to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Jason Goodreau, Samantha's Rehabilitation Counselor, nominated her for the Unsung Hero award. He believes Samantha has turned her ADHD into a positive, using the energy from it to become a hard worker.

According to Goodreau, Samantha is a reliable, trustworthy and dedicated worker. She works hard and is able learn and quickly apply new skills. She shows leadership by helping and guiding others, and she's a good mentor, always encouraging others.