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Monday, May 2, 2016

Sheltered Workshop on the move

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oregon County Sheltered Workshop employees Kim Hensley and Herman Holmes look forward to moving to their new building about one mile out of Alton on Highway 160.Photo by Jan Thompson
ALTON -- In the near future, the Oregon County Sheltered Workshop will be moving from their present location on Main Street in Alton to the former John Deere building on Highway 160 about one-mile from Alton.

The workshop was started when a tax levy was passed in 1986. They have been at their present building since the early 1990s.

"With the several new projects we have started at the workshop we have simply ran out of room," board member Gary Hensley said.

The new building was purchased from Glen Larsen. It was appraised at $325,000 but Larsen sold it to the workshop for $185,000.

The workshop does a lot of contract work. About six months ago, they also opened up a thrift shop.

"Darrel Strain wrote a grant and we bought a baler. The clothes that we don't sell at the thrift shop we bale and send away to people in places that need them. About 40 bales will fill a semi-load," Hensley said. Besides the baler, the workshop employees also run a paper shredder where local residents can bring their personal or unwanted documents in and have them shredded.

At their present location, the employees are working out of two buildings. Manager Dennis Foulks said, "It has been dangerous for our employees traveling back and forth across the street from one building to the other one. When we get in our new building, there will be a lot better parking and we will be able to add additions to our thrift store such as furniture and appliances. Anyone that would like to donate clothing to the thrift store can call us at 417-778-6332."

Hensley said the workshop operates on a budget of about $125,000 a year.

"There will be some minor remodeling done at the new building. We hope to be moved in the next couple of months," Hensley said.

"The mission of the workshop is to provide meaningful employment to the handicapped residents of Oregon County," Foulks said.

The workshop employs 15 handicapped or disabled people throughout the county. There has been as many as 23 employees at the workshop. It is managed by Foulks and Sheila Brown is the workshop secretary. Darrell Strain works part-time as a consultant and has written several grants for the workshop.

The workshop is governed by a board of directors that serve a three-year term. They are appointed by the county commission. Current board members are: Gary Hensley, Larry Rowe, Mike Crawford, Janet Alford, Freda Davis, Mike McElmurry, Dana Roberts, Dorthy Ellis and Ed Honeycutt.

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