AMHERST - Listeners to Tantramar FM Community Radio might have been surprised that the station was honoured recently for employing persons with disabilities. Anyone listening to Sam Hunt on the air would never notice he has a disability.
Hunt, a 22-year-old Tatamagouche native, has been working as an assistant to operations manager Ron Bickle at the station since September, performing a variety of tasks, including broadcasting.
He also happens to be afflicted with cerebral palsy, but it does not affect his work at the station.
"It doesn't hold me back at all," said Hunt, whose speech is unaffected by the disorder. "You don't have to do too much walking when you're in radio. All interviews can be over the phone or in the studio. It's not like I have to go many places."
The radio station was one of nine employers honoured with a Lieutenant Governor's Persons with Disabilities Employer Partnership Award during a ceremony at the fourth annual Symposium on Inclusive Education and Employment in Halifax on Nov. 30.
"This segment of the labour force continues more and more to present themselves as job-ready and qualified," said Lt.-Gov. Mayann Francis. "This award celebrates the significant strides made in this area, in terms of employer awareness of the valuable resources available in persons with disabilities in meeting their labour needs, and in terms of each employee's readiness and enthusiasm to become an integral part of the working community and more meaningful contributors to society."
Hiring Hunt, made possible through the provincial Opportunity Fund and Works For You program, has provided the new radio station with many benefits, according to Bickle, who described Hunt as his "right hand man."
"It's good just having an extra body around to answer phones, and to have an extra voice on the air," said Bickle. "He's a pretty versatile guy, he knows computers pretty well, he's able to work with music, and he can type up a PSA. A lot of stuff I was having to do, I can get him to do now."