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A car accident 10 years ago left Teresa Faulkner a paraplegic. She has completed basic office and computer skills training at the Tennessee Valley Rehabilitation Center and is looking for part-time employment.
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
A car accident 10 years ago left Teresa Faulkner a paraplegic. She has completed basic office and computer skills training at the Tennessee Valley Rehabilitation Center and is looking for part-time employment.

Ready, willing and able to work

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com 340-2438

DANVILLE — A wreck more than a decade ago paralyzed Teresa Faulkner from the chest down. But it couldn't paralyze her spirit.

Last fall, she took driving lessons from a state instructor. In May, she completed a three-week formal course in basic office and computer skills at the Tennessee Valley Rehabilitation Center.

Faulkner, 47, is more than ready to return to the work force.

"I need a job desperately," she said Monday, seated in her motorized wheelchair at home on Brown Road. She explained her Catch-22 situation.

She said her driving instructor told her, "You're going to get a van."

The state would modify the vehicle so Faulkner could drive it. But before she can submit a plan, she first has to find employment.

"The state doesn't want to assist someone for joy riding," she said. "They want to help get someone to work and back. That's what I want. I want
to be a productive part of society."

Faulkner has a 2001 van that's handicap-accessible for her to ride in, but not for her to drive. She wants to sell it and
get a new van for the state to modify.

"I can get my driver license when I get the modified van and take the test," she said.

"People drive me to church and they drive me to the grocery store. I want to do it on my own. I want to be independent. That's what a job would do for me."

After a few moments conversing with Faulkner, a visitor will forget the wheelchair. She's that upbeat, that dedicated to selling her skills and her personality, and landing a job as a receptionist or secretary.

Dawne Roberts, administrative assistant and instructor at TVRC, said Faulkner trained using a fax machine, answering a multi-phone system, filing, sorting and working in Corel WordPerfect and Microsoft Word.

"She works well with others and independently, as well as taking the initiative to perform her duties as assigned without being prompted," Roberts said.

"She has excellent people skills both in person and on phone calls."

Faulkner, who has an 18-year-old son, Chance, draws a modest monthly check from Social Security.

She began working while in high school at Danville, starting in the children's department at Sears.

At the time of the wreck March 31, 1997, she was a substitute teacher at Danville schools.

"Life was wonderful," she said. "Then it turned upside down.

"I thought about it," she said. "I could sit around here or get to work. I decided to get to work."

Job

If you think you have a job for Teresa Faulkner, call her at 773-0041.

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