Disability Employment Awareness Highlight: Tech. Sgt. Toomey

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Corinna Diaz
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is observed every October to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities to the American workforce.

For U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bonny Toomey, 49th Force Support Squadron readiness noncommissioned officer, this month has a personal connection for herself and her family.

She chose to take on the special duty of readiness noncommissioned officer after her son was diagnosed with a disability and found support with the Exceptional Family Member Program. Now, she helps coordinate events for families like hers, such as mountain retreats, trick-or-treating and museum visits.

“I felt so alone when my son first started having issues,” said Toomey. “It wasn’t until I met some of the other families and other people that were dealing with the same struggles that I was going through that I felt more supported.”

Toomey and her son found that going to events specifically coordinated for EFMP families allowed them to form a sense of community as well as realize what the future can look like, living with a disability.

“These events help children see what kind of job opportunities are out there,” said Toomey. “We were able to see, for example, the remotely piloted aircraft flight simulator. For my child specifically, that is a job that would be ideal for him with his disability.”

Working alongside Julie Cardwell, 49th FSS EFMP family support coordinator, she was able to help other families here at Holloman find the same sense of community and support.

“These events give families a chance to meet each other and socialize with each other,” said Cardwell. “Connecting with other families in similar situations is one of the best resources we have on base.”

Recognizing NDEAM not only gives a spotlight to Americans with disabilities who are currently employed, but also allows the future generations of workers to see how they can contribute to the workforce and overcome barriers to entering certain career fields.

“Awareness is so important to let these people with disabilities, and their families, know that they are not forgotten and they don’t fall to the wayside,” said Toomey. “People care and there are options and resources out there for us.”

Join Team Holloman in building a more inclusive workplace for future generations. If you or someone in your family needs support with disability accommodations, visit https://www.hollomanmfrc.com.