"Working with DORS on and off for almost 30 years."

David Gesswein at the steering wheel in his modified van.

January 2017 - DORS Consumer David Gesswein was in a car accident in January of 1988 - 30 years ago this month - and his injuries resulted in physical disabilities that require the use of a mobility chair.

David has also been "working with DORS on and off for almost 30 years." He first attended an Office Technology class at DORS' Workforce & Technology Center in the early 1990s. DORS then helped him get his AA degree at Harford Community College and get into an internship at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in 1993. This internship eventually lead to a paid position and David has been working there ever since.

To get to his job at APG, David needed transportation, and twenty-something years ago, DORS helped him get his first van modification. But, nothing lasts forever, "The old [van] had 300,000 miles on it," David said, so in August of 2015, he contacted DORS again for help getting a new van.

DORS Rehabilitation Counselor Karen Auten took over David's case in January of 2016. The process of getting a van modification is time consuming because the work that has to be done is highly specialized and expensive. The Maryland Board of Public Works approved the cost of the modifications in January of 2017 and by May, David had his new van.

David is grateful for the assistance he received from DORS - which allows him to maintain his employment at APG - and for the excellent service he received from Karen. "Karen was very helpful and she was always responsive when I emailed her and had questions."

For her part, Karen is glad she got a chance to work with David: "My success as a DORS counselor is based on the services I provide to others. It was a great opportunity to be a part of making a difference in David’s life."

Modified vehicles are an excellent example of how DORS' services help people with disabilities get and maintain jobs. These vehicles are essential to people with physical disabilities, like spinal cord injuries, because they cannot travel in regular automobiles and may not have access to public transportation. Without these critical services, employment would be impossible for many people with disabilities.

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