Trockman-Wendell Foster Rooster Booster teaches us important lessons

Ben Trockman was one of the youngest speakers I recall having at Rooster Booster.

A 2007 high school graduate, I would calculate that he is under 30. But his message was also one of the most powerful I recall.

His age came as a complete surprise to me. In the several phone conversations that we had before Thursday, I had assumed that he was my age which, for the record, is still in the 40s … but not for long. Reflecting on my assumption that he was older, I think, stems from the life experiences that have given him depth and wisdom usually achieved with age.

We invited Ben to speak to our members after our 2017 Board Chair, Wade Jenkins, told us about Old National Bank’s Achievability Program and the impact it had on so many lives.

The program’s purpose is to create a corporate culture that welcomes employees who may have physical or mental limitations. Our staff felt confident that the program would fit well with the program sponsor, Wendell Foster, who strives to enrich its residents’ and clients’ lives with one of the most basic and fulfilling roles we as human beings have — to be able to work and feel like we are contributing.

Ben told us his story of a near-fatal accident and the recovery. At 17, Ben went from a typical teenage boy to a 17-year-old quadriplegic.

In typical fashion of people who have conquered that kind of adversity, Ben spent the majority of his time sharing others’ stories. We heard video testimonies from people who were extremely qualified for positions and who quickly received interviews and were told immediately when the interviewer met them that they would “not fit in here.”

Those same people now work for Old National. And their presence in the workplace is not only good for the employer; it enriches the work environment, the coworkers’ lives and the customers’ experience, too. I would call that a win.

Doing good and helping others is not only good for the spirit; it can be good for business, too. We all have a role to play. And Thursday, we were reminded that when we all find ways to include one another, the payoffs are unlimited.