County woman wins statewide award

A Raymondville woman was saluted during a reception last week as the winner of the Experience Works Participant Champion for Missouri.

Lorraine Loy, 60, a former Experience Works employee, won the honor, which recognizes those who overcame significant barriers to achieve workplace success. The program, formerly known as Green Thumb, is a national non-profit organization that helps older people obtain the training they need to find good jobs in their local communities. Loy and her husband, who has health problems, moved from Louisiana to Texas County after Hurricane Rita struck the gulf region.

With jobs scare, she found herself in a disparate situation: choosing between food or medicine. Officials with the program said she turned to Experience Works and updated her job skills through positions at the Texas County Food Pantry and the U.S. Forest Service, where she gained a permanent position in June 2008 and received health insurance benefits.

Anne Hutchison, employment and training coordinator, and Susan Jackson-Falls, communications coordinator, praised her during a reception at the Texas County Justice Center. Joining them was Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, who answered questions about senior issues following the presentation.

Loy says she wants to help others in the same position she faced, and she is working toward creating a foundation that would help older citizens go to college. “Let’s get out there and do something,” she urged those attending.

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