On Tuesday, Marshfield McDonald's employee TJ Slocum showed up to work on his day off, after being told by a coworker he needed to come in.

He wasn’t expecting to be recognized by family members, coworkers and other guests for October’s Disability Employment Awareness Month. Local McDonald's owner-operators in Missouri and Arkansas have supported the month of October as Disability Awareness Month to highlight the contributions made by individuals with disabilities, including Slocum.

During the special presentation, Marshfield city administrator John Benson presented a proclamation to Slocum in recognition of Disability Employment Awareness Month. State Rep. Mike Cunningham spoke briefly about Slocum, recalling memories when he first met Slocum.

"I remember when TJ was born," said Cunningham. "I remember when I gave him candy and he had this big smile on his face. I still remember the play he did back in high school, and he never missed anything. He was on cue with everything. It's a privilege to know people like TJ and all that he does for the community."

Slocum also received a plaque from Teresa McGeehan, local Marshfield McDonald’s owner-operator, for his service as an employee and his contributions to the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, Slocum had the opportunity to present a check in the amount of $61,000 to the Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks.

Bonnie Keller, Ronald McDonald House Charity president and CEO, said she has had the pleasure of working with Slocum, who raises money each year for the Ronald McDonald House during its Share a Heart campaign in February.

"I think there are so many people that every year plan on supporting the Ronald McDonald House and wait for TJ to come and ask if they would like to share a heart," said Keller. "I'll go to Rotary Club and they say, 'I saw TJ today and I made a donation today.' It's crazy how many people know him."

She explained the Ronald McDonald House has been collaborating with McDonald's of the Ozarks for 35 years now to help build two Ronald McDonald houses and operate its mobile dental clinic. Keller added, "It’s such an honor to work with McDonald's, and the icing on the cake is getting to work with people like TJ."

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