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Reggie Dillard provides inspiration at Conway HDCDate: 11/08/2016
By Kev Moye
CONWAY – Some people have the innate ability to always inject joy into any place they go.
For Conway’s Human Development Center, Reggie Dillard is that person.
Now in his 36th year of employment at the CHDC, Dillard has become an invaluable source of happiness and inspiration for employees and clients alike.
And though he’s not a physically imposing human being, Dillard – who is completely impaired of hearing – has a presence that looms large throughout the massive CHDC campus.
“For me the past 22 years, he’s been like a brother … more than just an employee,” said CHDC Laundry Operations Manager Jimmy Garris. “That’s how most everybody that knows Reggie feels about him.”
And that’s how the 56-year-old laundry worker would prefer to be viewed.
“I have fun working around all the people here,” he said via an interpreter. “It’s up to other people if they want to be around me and learn. I just love to learn and be alongside other people.
“And the people who have issues, I stay away from.”
When working with his contemporaries, Dillard gladly assumes a “big brother” type of role.
“I try to teach people how to do things throughout the laundry room,” he passionately stated. “I simply want people to learn, so I’m always willing to help them out.”
In essence, Dillard embodies the CHDC mission.
The facility specializes in providing programs that upgrade the quality of life for people who have an intellectual disability. The overall concept for the CHDC is to create normalcy and comfort for its clients, and any opportunity he receives to lend assistance places Dillard in a state of delight.
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Dillard refuses to be hindered by his lack of hearing. He strives to live the typical American life. Dillard goes to work, returns to his own home and enjoys fellowshipping with family and friends when he has the chance.
Sarah Murphy, superintendent of the CHDC, appreciates the work ethic and benevolent persona of Dillard.
“Reggie is an inspiration to people with and those who do not have a disability. He’s an extremely hard worker,” Murphy said with a smile. “He’s an encourager. CHDC is fortunate to have had him as an employee for the last 36 years.
“He adds life to the facility.”
At some point, the positive vibes and great leadership Dillard bestows will not be readily available for the CHDC. He plans to retire and eventually relocate back to Missouri.
When he finally decides to depart the CHDC, Dillard will be sorely missed. A vital presence that eagerly provides wisdom, motivation and glee for the CHDC will be gone.
“He’s such an inspiration. Reggie is like family. If he’s absent, we want to know where he is,” Garris said. “That’s because he’s such a joy and inspiration on a daily basis. When he does retire, I’m sure some of the laundry family will probably cry. They’ll miss his inspiration, his upbeat personality so much.”