Neil Gantzel is working his dream airport job
Chasing a dream takes determination, burning passion and a steady wave of supporters pushing to the finish line. Since the age of 2, Neil Gantzel has had the drive. Coming to Mountain Valley Developmental Services nearly 12 years ago just fueled his desire to work at an airport and introduced him to a variety of people willing to help him catch his dream.Like any other person pursuing a goal, Neil faced bumps in the road, but working toward a goal as a person living with developmental disabilities posed unique challenges, all of which Neil met head on.Whatever it takes, I go for it, Neil said. Whatever block comes along I get over it, he said.Helping Neil over those blocks have been the employees at Mountain Valley and friends in the community.Realizing that Neil, like any one else, would have to start somewhere, Jim Garland, coordinator for the community inclusive employment program, took it upon himself to assist Neil in getting his dream job at the Eagle County Regional Airport.When he first moved here, he came into the CIE program, and we tried to get him with the airlines, Garland said. We talked about it and said we had to work our way up.So Garland helped Neil into a job bussing at Village Inn, not exactly what Neil imagined, but it gave him a starting place.Sometimes in life I take an alternate route first until I reach my final destination, Neil said.As the possibility of working at the airport neared, the first road block set itself up directly in Neils path. In order to get to work at the airport each week, Neil would need a drivers license.While Garland worked to make Neil an employee with Worldwide Flight Services, a good friend of Neils worked to get Neil a drivers license. Driving 25 miles two times a week, Bill Wortz drove with Neil along I-70, teaching him the ways of the road.In 2000, Neil received a drivers license and his first paycheck from Worldwide Flight Services out of Eagle Airport.The community in my life really means a lot to me, Neil said. Were really a team.Next on Neils itinerary: obtaining his commercial drivers license. He may experience some turbulence, but with his teammates at Mountain Valley beside him, hes sure to reach his destination.He sets tough goals for himself and never gives up, Garland said. Hes a young man who wants to prove to the world that DD people can do things even though it may take a little bit longer. Hes just someone I find really hard not to admire.In this world, weve come so far, Neil said. It just takes time, but were starting to figure out that people with developmental disabilities can live independently and work independently. It just takes time and patience, thats what I say.
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