Abilities to Work Campaign – Ericka Luna

Abilities to Work Campaign – Ericka Luna

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[MUSIC] Working for the Forest Service, it means opportunity, it means having a really great job and being able to contribute and do something that I love every day. My first job working with the Forest Service was in Research. I feel like it was a great accomplishment being able to contribute to that body of research that we use so often. And now as a Government Relations Liaison, being able to make sure that we’re communicating well and sharing information with elected officials, and we’re serving people to the best of our abilities to meet the mission. I was born with a rare disability, and I’m missing the radius bone in both of my arms. It’s called thrombocytopenia-absent radii syndrome. And so I only have one bone in my forearm, and I’ve had multiple surgeries, and so my wrists are all fused. The part of the disorder that you can’t see is the blood portion, and so my body doesn’t produce platelets. Yeah, so this is Watson. He is a Bouvier, and he is my service animal. So Watson has just been phenomenal. He makes it safer for me to get around and is just a wonderful companion and helps me do my job better. Reasonable accommodations are an important asset for good teamwork. I have a chair that allows me to adjust my height. Because of the length of my arms, it’s hard for me to reach if I’m sitting up too high. My supervisors, you know, made sure that I had the equipment that I needed. There are other colleagues who have disabilities that it’s sort of obvious like mine. Then there’s other colleagues who have disabilities that aren’t as obvious that you don’t know about. But either way it’s just kind of the same. It’s a conversation and making sure that we’re supporting each other and meeting each other’s needs; and that’s true for colleagues with or without disabilities. In terms of changing that perspective, I think the more diversity that we end up having in hiring people across the Forest Service, in all different kinds of jobs, we will just continue to grow as an agency and bring in more talents and continue to be better so that we can meet the mission. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC]

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