Messer: Working and living independently in community


GREENVILLE — Get to know Greenville resident Tom Messer and he will dispel many myths about people with disabilities.

Messer works 40 hours most weeks, drives his own car, and lives independently with his wife, Alice. He is employed at Taco Bell in Greenville. Although he can do most jobs in the restaurant, Messer’s primary position is “back up” where he keeps food ready for other crew members who are filling orders. The fast-paced environment is a great fit for Messer’s skills.

“Tom can run circles around everyone,“ said Bev Norton, general manager. “When Tom is off and someone else is working in his position, they cannot keep up like Tom can. Tom is also effective at multi-tasking. From preparing food in the deep fryer to cleaning up the food prep area, Tom knows what to do and gets it done correctly. Bev shares that Tom is appreciated by every member of the Taco Bell team. I would never want to lose him as a worker.”

Messer started working as a 12-year-old on his family’s farm, feeding and caring for farm animals. Messer believes these early experiences helped prepare him for employment. Over the years, he has driven to restaurants in Troy and Englewood and to a local poultry producer to work. Messer came back to the Greenville Taco Bell just before Norton joined the store.

“Tom’s job was more limited when I came,” Norton shared. “I asked the staff if Tom had ever been trained for other job tasks and learned that he hadn’t, so I started showing him other jobs and gave him an opportunity. Tom learned very quickly.”

Earlier this year, Messer celebrated his 5 year anniversary with Taco Bell in Greenville. When asked what he likes about his job, Tom answered, “Everything! I like going to work better than staying at home.” His advice for young people thinking about working in the community is “to stay with a job when you get one, have good attendance and show up on time when you are scheduled.”

Messer and his wife Alice have been married for 18 years and live independently in a home they rent in Greenville. When he is not working, the couple enjoys visiting neighbors, going to the YMCA, going out to eat, and visiting with family.

“Once in a while we go to the Piqua movie,” Messer shared.

Staff report

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