Lorraine Loy, center, is the recipint of the Experience Works Champion Award in Missouri for 2009. Looking on at a reception Thursday morning are Susan Jackson-Fails, left, communications coordinator with Experience Works, and Anne Hutchison, employment and training coordinator for the organization. The event was at the Texas County Justice Center.

A Raymondville woman recently received the 2009 Experience Works Champion Award for Missouri.

Lorraine Loy was the recipient of the honor given by the nation’s largest nonprofit training and employment organization for older workers. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson presented Loy’s award during a special ceremony at 8 a.m. today (Thursday) at the Texas County Justice Center.

Experience Works provides job training to low-income older workers in Missouri through the Senior Community Service Program. It recognized Loy as an older worker who has overcome significant barriers to achieve workplace success.

The organization said Loy’s positive attitude, perseverance and willingness to learn new skills helped her land a new job and serve as an example for other older individuals who are looking for work.

The 60-year-old and her husband, who suffers from health problems, moved from Louisiana to Houston in search of a better life shortly after Hurricane Rita turned their lives upside down. However, jobs were scarce, and the couple soon found themselves in a desperate financial situation – often choosing between medicine and food.

Never one to rely on charity, Lorraine turned to Experience Works and was given an opportunity to update her job skills through on-the-job training assignments at a local food pantry and the USDA Forest Service. In June, 2008, she accepted a permanent position with the Forest Service and, for the first time in five years, began receiving health insurance benefits.

As the Missouri winner, Lorraine is also eligible to receive national recognition. It will be presented Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C.

For more information about the Experience Works Champion Awards or services available to older job seeker, host agencies or employers, visit www.experienceworks.org or call 866-397-9757.

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