Belco Works

My son was diagnosed as developmentally disabled at an early age. When he was 10 or 12 years old I met with caseworkers from the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities and signed Mike up for services. Even though I did not need any help at the time, it was nice to know that services were available when he got older.

After Mike was finished with high school, he started working at Belco Works, the county sheltered workshop. He already knew several people there through his activities with Ohio Special Olympics, so he was able to adapt quickly.  He has since moved into Community Employment and works at WalMart.

7 years ago, I was asked to serve as a parent representative on the board of directors of Belco Works. At the time, the organization was in the process of separating itself from the Belmont County Board of DD and becoming a totally private non profit organization. This had been a long process, which in fact started in 1992 and was completed in January of 2009.   Belco Works at that time was designated as an independent provider, the same status other service providers hold.   This Belco Works is very different from the Belco Works of past years and offers many services for community integration and employment in the local workforce.

Even though Belco Works is a non profit organization, it needs to be run like a business to end the year in the black. This means that the board of directors are informed of finances on at least a monthly basis.  Costs have been trimmed and charges for services provided are closely monitored.  Grants and other funding options help to maintain financial stability.

Belco Works is involved in providing employment opportunities and promoting community participation for people with disabilities, always searching for something that might make a difference in people’s lives.

An opportunity to find funds to help Belco Works was presented at our February board meeting.

An organization called the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley is hosting a 24 hour online giving challenge. This will raise unrestricted dollars for non profit business such as Belco Works.

The event which will be held on May 6th, 2014 is being called The Amazing Raise Ohio Valley. You can see their website at

Also, you can see the Belco Works non profit webpage at:

Gifts of $10 or more can be made during the 24 hour online giving period and then money which has been pooled from other donations, sponsors and other sources will be used to amplify every gift.

I am trying to get the word out to let people know that these donations will be used locally, right here in Belmont County for a segment of our population that deserve it. Please mark this date on your calendar (May 6, 2014) and be as generous as possible to support the good work done by Belco Works, Inc.


My Daughter

On December 5th, my daughter celebrated her……well….birthday. I won’t say her age but damn, I’m getting old.

I wrote a post about my son on here several months ago and thought I should tell you about my daughter.

I can clearly remember the day she was born and bringing her home a few days later. It was cold and there was snow on the ground.

Growing up there were the usual bumps, bruises and tears. Thank goodness, no trips to the hospital, except for a few stitches.

There were two incidents that happened that told me what kind of person she was turning out to be. One winter when Jess was probably 10 or 11, she wanted to go around the neighborhood and shovel off walks and driveways. She was gone for a few hours and when she came back home I asked her whose walks she had shoveled. She mentioned an elderly neighbor down the street and I asked how much he had paid her. She said she just shoveled off his walk and driveway and never went to the door for payment.

Later when she was in high school, she came to the aid of a mentally handicapped student who was being bullied and beaten. She had to fill out a report for the local law enforcement, that is how bad it was.

She went on to get her associates degree at a local tech college, working part time jobs during the process. She worked for a law firm for a few years and is now employed as a deputy clerk for a count division judge.

I have always been so very proud of her. She is a kind, loving, gentle person. She makes friends easily, laughs often and always has a kind word for someone.

She has given me many gifts over the years but none compare to the day she got married and the day she gave me my granddaughter!

She may be a wife and a mother now, but she will always be my little girl!

Love ya Sis!


Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an official US holiday and is observed on November 11th. It is a day to honor those who have served in the armed services.

This day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is a day of remembering the men and women who gave their lives while serving.

One thing that I do not like to hear is when people say “Happy Veterans Day”.

Frank Parkinson

Frank Parkinson

My father, Frank Parkinson, was in the Army during the Korean War. He never talked about what happened and evaded or changed the subject when questioned.

After Dad passed away, I learned that he was involved in hand to hand combat. The fighting was so fierce that he had to use a shovel to kill a North Korean solider. I can’t imagine what he experienced during those moments. I now know he thought about this every day.

Dad was a Christian. He read the Bible every day. I hope that he has found peace in heaven. he passed away on Veterans Day.

So when hear the words “Happy Veterans Day” I cringe and think about what someone who has experienced the horrors of war, who can’t have a day pass without remembering, who have a lifetime of issues because of what happened to them in a land far away, what goes through their mind.

So, please, please, honor those who have served. Say thanks or buy them a meal. Don’t say “Happy” and force them to remember the unspeakable memories that they think about every day.






According to WikiPedia, Movember (a portmanteau word from moustache and “November”) is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancers and associated charities. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at The goal of Movember is to “change the face of men’s health.”

By encouraging men (which the charity refers to as “Mo Bros”) to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides getting an annual check-up, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of any family history of cancer, and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

I have been meaning to take part in Movember for several years but seemed to always forget until the end of the month. This year I thought about this in October and stopped shaving at the end of the month. I have not had facial hair for about ten years. After just a few days I can see that this is going to take some getting used to.

John day1

John day 1

John day 5

John day 5

More pics to come as the month goes by!


WordCamp Buffalo

Living in eastern Ohio, I was very fortunate this year because I have been able to attend three WordCamps so far this year. The first was WordCamp North Canton which was held on May 4th at Stark State College. Next was WordCamp Columbus which was held on August 2nd and 3rd at The Union on the campus of Ohio State. Finally, this past weekend I drove about 5 hours and attended WordCamp Buffalo for the September 14th event.


I have only been attending WordCamps since 2010 and last year was the first that I attended multiple events.

To put a little bit of a twist on things, my fiancé asked if she could go with me to Buffalo. I was more than happy to have the company. We arrived in Buffalo in the early afternoon and decided to drive to Niagara Falls. If I had been by myself, I would probably have taken a nap. It was a short 30 minute drive to the Falls and I must say that I was very impressed. I have always been fascinated by rock formations and how rivers are formed.

jp falls

In the evening we drove to the Mulberry Italian Restaurant in Lackawanna. This was recommended by one of the WCBUF organizers and had been featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I must say that everything exceeded my expectations. It was a busy Friday night and luckily we had made reservations. I had shrimp with a spicy sauce with linguine. Top notch cuisine and the service was excellent.


On Saturday morning I arrived at Lyons’ Hall on the campus of Canisius College just in time to start helping with setup. Andy Staples, Jason Lutz, Terry and Ben, the main organizers, had plenty of volunteers. I had offered to help with registration so I would be free the rest of the day to attend sessions.

It was great to see WPEngine as a sponsor at the event. I have meet some of the people at different events and it is always a pleasure to see them.

I am guessing that there were 130 attendees. Three sessions were running throughout the day and I can honestly say that it was tough to choose between presentations that were running in the same time slot.

I was planning on leaving after the last session had concluded but as the day went by I knew that it would make for a much longer day, so I decided to leave before the 3:30 session began. Although I missed out on some great presentations, I was glad to get home by 8:00.

All in all, WordCamp Buffalo was a great event. Two thimbs up to the organizers, volunteers, speakers and the attendees!