VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – You won’t find any dissatisfied or indifferent employees at Special Persons Mailing Service.
“It’s fun; I like my co-workers,” said 20-year employee Ian McCullough. “I’m happy.”
Employees at the bulk mailing company on Tulip Road in Virginia Beach are happy to be back.
“Feels really great; feels great,” said Kelly Warner, a two-year employee.
After COVID-19 forced the building to shut its doors last March, the 30 employees started to work from home, but it wasn’t the same.
“Sometimes it just gets boring at home,” said Warner. “Just boring at home. Just miss all my work friends; that’s what happens.”
After one full year and with CDC guidelines in effect, the adults with developmental disabilities are back to sorting, stamping, labeling and more.
Tom McMahan, 49, has worked at Special Persons Mailing for 25 years.
“I’m putting together newsletters and labeling them, and I also do stapling and sometimes saddle stitching,” McMahan said.
News 3 asked McMahan what he liked most about being back in the workplace.
“Seeing all my friends here at Special Persons again,” he said.
Operations Manager Kristen Hart said the business, which started from humble beginnings three decades ago, is more than a just a job for the dedicated employees.
“A lot of the employees here have worked here for years,” she said. “This is part of their daily routine. They take a lot of pride in their work. They have an amazing work ethic.”
Special Persons Mailing is a place where they not only sharpen their physical skills but also their mental skills. Employees interact with friends and the community in an inclusive environment while gaining independence and earning a paycheck.
Most importantly, the workplace is less about making money and more about social acceptance and a sense of belonging.
“This is a huge part of their life,” Hart said. “They spend probably almost as much time here as they do anywhere else. Being back, seeing the smiles on their faces is just wonderful.”
Kelly Warner, 43, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like helping people out, doing different kinds of work,” she said. “Do folding and stamping.”
At the end of the day, employees at Special Persons Mailing feel a sense of accomplishment.
“All done,” said one employee.
To keep employees safe, their schedules are staggered to maintain social distancing inside the building. Additionally, employees are working three days a week instead of four days a week.