A special award was presented to Waupaca County Industries members on Tuesday, Sept. 9.
The award from Gov. Scott Walker recognized community rehabilitation program workers who help maintain state highway rest areas.
The roadside facility staff at Waupaca County Industries in Manawa maintains a total of three rest areas. This includes a year-round site in Marion and seasonal sites in Royalton and Sugarbush.
Their work includes lawn maintenance, snow removal, painting and restroom cleaning.
Waupaca County Industries maintains the rest areas through a direct Rest Area Maintenance (RAM) contract with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT).
Presenting the award were Tom Packard, RAM program operator, Bob Marchke, RAM field service coordinator for Northern Wisconsin, and Tom VanBeck, DOT engineering technician.
“This is really a very special award directed to the actual workers,” VanBeck said. “This award comes personally from the governor’s office to the people who do the work out in the field.”
According to VanBeck, this is the first time workers have been recognized since the RAM program began 27 years ago.
“You do a great job,” Marchke told the Waupaca County team. “Keep it up.”
The award presentation was part of Gov. Walker’s “Year of a Better Bottom Line” to encourage employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Wisconsin DOT is responsible for operating rest areas and many waysides, and has a long-standing partnership with community rehabilitation programs that provide job opportunities to individuals who are disabled or may have limited employment options.
There are 23 community rehabilitation centers across the state that employ workers who handle daily maintenance duties at all state rest areas, along with some waysides, park and rides, and truck safety and weight enforcement facilities.
Over 300 workers with disabilities are responsible for keeping Wisconsin’s 30 rest areas clean and open for business year round.