S P E C I A L F E A T U R E
Home School Graduate Receives Employee of the Year Award
On October 14, 1997, home school graduate Dean Shomper was named Outstanding Worker with a Disability. Only 16 such awards are given annually in the Department of Defense and only one by each agency within the department. In Deans agency, he was selected from three nomineesthe other two were engineers, one with a Ph.D. and the other with a Masters degree.
During a special ceremony at the Pentagon, the undersecretary of defense presented awards to Dean and the 15 other DOD department winners from across the nation. The event featured colorguard from all the service branches, a huge banquet, and an address from the head of the EEOC. The people were treated as if they were ambassadors from a foreign country, said Deans mother, Debbie Eaton.
With a vague diagnosis of developmentally delayed or slow, Dean has always struggled with his education. After Dean spent four frustrating years in a public school special education program, his parents decided to home school him. He made more progress in the first two months at home than school officials had expected him to make in several years. The Eatons taught Dean at home for twelve years, and he graduated in 1993.
Following graduation, Dean proved himself a diligent worker at Discovery Zone, earning an Employee of the Month award. Then he attended Woodrow Wilson Center in Fishersville, Virginia, a rehabilitation school where he received training in office skills. In June 1996, the Lord provided an opening in the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), where Dean serves as a personnel file clerk.
Dean has been rejected and left out most of his life, said Debbie. It was so exciting to see him being recognized and acknowledged with this award. This gave Dean a pat on the back, as if God were saying You have a place, too. God will use you in the world to serve Him for His glory.
How did Dean feel about receiving the award? It made me so happy to receive this award, he said. It made all the frustrations and trials over the years worth it all. But he was quick to give credit to the Lord, I know it was Jesus who gave me this job and gave me favor in being awarded Outstanding Worker with a Disability.
Deans dreams for the future include becoming more involved in politics. I want to make a difference in our country. I would like to work on Capitol Hill or at the state capitol someday.