Training and employing individuals with disabilities in the Wiregrass community for fifty-two years is rewarding for those who work and are served at the local non-profit Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center (WRC).
During a recent awards ceremony held in Montgomery, WRC was named Outstanding Organization of the Year by the Alabama Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Additionally, WRC Administrator Dr. Jack Sasser was named Outstanding Rehabilitation Professional of the Year.
The Organization of the Year Award is presented to an AARF member organization providing rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities in an outstanding manner. The criteria for nomination included:
• Overview of the services offered through member organization
• Identification of special or innovative programs developed
• Demonstrated effectiveness and positive results
• Impact on the community and on the lives of individuals served
• Vision, foresight and creativity to address the needs of individuals served
Since its beginning in 1958, WRC continues to train individuals with disabilities and assist them in securing employment and overcome vocational barriers. In the last three years, WRC has constructed a new work services center which houses a commercial healthcare laundry, plant-based shredding operation, industrial and manufacturing workshop space, computer lab, and business offices.
Additionally, the 23-acre Dothan campus includes a pallet shop, a full-service catering business, lawncare/landscaping service, and an Adult Day Care. Most recently, the organization celebrated the opening of WRC Market, a discount retail store with overstock and closeout merchandise.
WRC serves 12 counties in Alabama, Northwest Florida and Southwest Georgia. Annually, over 200 individuals with disabilities are trained and placed in community employment. WRC contributes over $3 million annually to the economic life of the community.
The Outstanding Rehabilitation Professional of the Award is presented to an employee of a member organization exhibiting the following criteria:
• Demonstrated contributions to the quality of services to people with disabilities positively impacting the overall service provision of the member organization
• Demonstrated high professional ethics and integrity
• Demonstrated sincere concern for persons served through member organization
• Demonstrated leadership in the enhancement and/or development of programs within the member organization or in the field of rehabilitation
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Dr. Jack Sasser has served as WRC Administrator since 1996. During his tenure, he has initiated and developed building programs totaling over $7million and began a foundation to support the Center by raising approximately $1 million. Through Dr. Sasser’s leadership, WRC has applied and been awarded numerous federal, state, and local grants totaling over $3.5 million – monies have been used to construct/expand and provide training facilities and programs for individuals with disabilities. Dr. Sasser is a member and part president of the Dothan Rotary Club; recipient of two (2) Paul Harris Fellow Awards and has served in numerous state and community organizations. He is married to wife- Arlene and has two daughters, two son-in-laws, and three grandchildren.
WRC does not define a person by what they cannot do, but instead, by the goals they attain and the heights to which they soar.