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Welcomed with a smile

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Stacie Ellison is an attendant at the Conway Rest Area off I-44, employed by Laclede Industries with a smile always on her face. Ellison attended special education classes and earned her diploma before beginning her career at a sheltered workshop in Marshfield.

“I worked at Marshfield Care Center for nine years and WebCo Custom Industries for eight years before starting at the Missouri Route 66 Welcome Center,” recalled Ellison. “I’ve been here for over two years now.”

Throughout her career, Ellison developed bone spurs in her back and now requires a brace. However, neither her physical restrictions or disability have held her back from having a successful career.

“Stacie is a hard worker and really pays attention details,” said her supervisor Nate Ogle. “She has a great attitude and it’s fun to come to work everyday.”

According to Ellison, she’s thankful for the opportunity and shares the sentiment. She said going to her job every week feels like she’s just going to be around a bunch of friends. 

“This is my favorite job I’ve ever had, being at the rest area plus the workshop,” she added.

Ellisons duties as an attendant include tidying the rest area and keeping parking lots clear for travelers. This ranges from clearing trash in the parking lots or pavilions to cleaning the sidewalks and railings. She also picks up pest cigarette butts, tends to the bathrooms and even takes care of snow and ice covered sidewalks. According to Laclede Industries, this means when it’s icy outside and the weatherman tells everyone else to stay home, Ellison is at work making sure the sidewalks are salted and snow is removed.

The smile Ellison wears has a lot to do with loving others and treating everyone as they would want to be treated. She said she lives a happy life, she’s married with loving pets and clings tightly to her faith.

“Her closeness with God and religious affiliation really shows in her work and interactions with visitors,” added Ogle. “We love having her work here.”

While Ellison enjoys her job, she does not qualify for Medicaid and has been denied several times. Finding permanent housing has also proven difficult in the last year. Before she got her apartment, she moved several times and was living with relatives.

Sheltered workshops are able to provide disabled Americans supervision, coaching and flexibility needed to retain job. Ellison has happily worked at the rest area for over two years and says she has no plans of leaving anytime soon.

Laclede Industries said the company is grateful to provide services to the community that exemplify all the abilities each individual has to offer, no matter what their disabilities may be. To visit the famed, smiling attendant, stop by the Missouri Route 66 Welcome Center off I-44 heading toward Marshfield.

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