Terrell Carter’s life changed when he connected with VersAbility Resources 13 years ago.
The Hampton nonprofit holds 14 regional government contracts that provide jobs for people with disabilities. Carter, 33, works in custodial services at Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, a new position for him after 12 years in food service at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Hampton.
Carter refers to the disability that affects his memory as “sometimers.” On occasion, he struggles to remember, “but when I’m in a routine, I do recognize patterns quickly,” he says. Medication largely keeps seizures under control, and nothing interferes with his internal drive to do a good job and make it fun for himself and those around him.
“I’m a people person and love people,” he says. “We clean. We laugh. I’ll take a boring place and make it fun in my own little special way. You’re going to love coming to work because I’m there. The other people there vibe off me and you’re going to see the person they are underneath.”
As a youngster, Carter was an achiever, noting, “I always wanted to be great at whatever I was doing. My mother, my father, my brothers, my uncles, they embedded that mentality into me.”
By connecting with a job coach at VersAbility, Carter found a purpose, friends and even better, a family at the VA Hospital. He started as a ground level dishwasher in the galley and advanced into a supervisory role.
“I met a lot of people who fought in the Vietnam War; it was an incredible experience,” he says. “They became my family. It was hard for me to leave because of the attachment I felt for everyone there.”
The steady employment gave him the means to move out and buy his own car. He’d still be there, but when his job coach Cindy Reeves, Senior Contract Manager at VersAbility, told him about another opportunity that would give him a raise, he jumped at it.
“It was time for me to go for me to grow,” he says.
At Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, Carter felt a family vibe as soon as he walked in the door.
“I make wherever I go a positive place to work,” he says.
Carter remains grateful to VersAbility for providing opportunities that changed his life. “I’ve gotten to meet so many people and learn so many things,” he says. “I didn’t know the VA Hospital existed before I went over there. That was a new world to me. And the people there, they trusted me. Some of them told me I was like a father. Some of them told me I was like a brother. I got a different vibe from each person I met.”
He takes pride in Reeves coming to him for his current opportunity.
“I left because Cindy needed me,” he says. “She’s my boss, a job coach, all in one.”
Carter’s message about VersAbility boils down to this. “If you want to make friends, you want to be in a good environment, VersAbility is the place to be. They make sure you’re OK before they put you in a situation. It’s a great place.”