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Employee to consumer: RVO and United Way give Scott Allmon place to make a difference

By Wilson R. Cherry

Special to the Post

When Scott Allmon finished high school and enlisted in the Marines he felt invincible. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Francis, on graduation night, all was right with the world. The son of a professional golfer with great potential himself, his life was filled with purpose and passion.

Then, after 36 years of marriage and two grown children (Lynn and Shannon), he decided to retire from Rowan Vocational Opportunities, Inc. after the untimely death of his parents. “After my parents’ death, I really felt a strong desire to spend more quality time with my wife and children.” Having served as a production supervisor, Scott had spent most of his days accepting the challenge of teaching and training adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities employment and life skills.

A born-again Christian, Scott is very passionate about helping others and sharing the fruits of his labor. After finally deciding to move on, he began traveling with his family and participating in the Christian Motorcycle Association, as well as the Patriot Guard, which serves as a motorcycle escort for deceased military members.

While working, Scott contributed consistently to the agency’s United Way campaign. His delicious eight-layer cookies frequently were one of the biggest money raisers during RVO’s annual dessert auction in which all proceeds are donated to the United Way. Little did Scott know that his continued quest to help others by giving to the United Way would be reciprocated.

While returning from a leisurely ride from Lexington, he would suddenly be in for the fight of his life, suffering major physical damage and a traumatic brain injury. His brand new Harley-Davidson Road King was totally destroyed in a critical car-motorcycle collision. This resulted in Scott spending 96 days in Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. Francis stayed loyally by his side until, finally, he started to show some progress. “I realize that in the twinkling of an eye, life can change dramatically,” Scott said. “I am so thankful to be alive and appreciate all the kind gestures and prayers that were rendered on my behalf.”

When Scott was released from the hospital and started making significant progress, Francis contacted Robbi Russell, RVO’s production manager, about returning as a consumer. Scott was getting anxious and bored, and Francis needed a break from being with him 24 hours a day. Not qualifying for state or federal funding to attend RVO, funding was made available through the United Way allocations process which assists six consumers who attend RVO. After a few weeks of working part time, Scott easily accepted his role of consumer and continues to reach out and help others. “I am really grateful to be a part of the RVO family again,” said Scott.

As the month of October has been designated since 1988 as Disability Employment Awareness month by the U.S. Congress, Scott has a special sense of its importance. Gary Yelton, executive director of Rowan Vocational Opportunities, stated, “As companies identify the talent and tools necessary for people to be productive on the job, they should be evaluated on the basis of their ability rather than their perceived disability. Thanks to a lot of support from family, friends and the Rowan County United Way, Scott is back enjoying what he likes most – spending time with his family and helping other people.”

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