By SARA ARTHURS
You just may know Rick Sadler. The Meijer employee, also known as Richie, has “met about everybody” in Findlay in the course of his work, said his father, Dave.
Rick recently marked 25 years of employment at Meijer. While such longevity in one job might not seem remarkable, Sadler is developmentally disabled.
Rick pushes carts at Meijer and also sometimes greets customers.
He graduated from Findlay High School in 1988 and briefly worked at Hardee’s before starting at Meijer.
Rick started at Blanchard Valley Center at age 5, then attended Adams School, then Central Junior High and Findlay High School. As part of his vocational training he learned food preparation and worked in the high school’s restaurant, his mother, Mary Sadler, said.
Rick started working in the bulk food department at Meijer in 1989, weighing food and affixing price tags.
He then worked third shift maintenance and the floral department before becoming a greeter and cart gatherer.
He said what has kept him at the job is “The people. I enjoy the people.” And he particularly enjoys helping others.
This includes the many customers he meets but also his coworkers, Dave said.
“He gets along with everybody,” he said.
Rick is the oldest of five children and his siblings live in Findlay. The family attends St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church and Dave said parishioners regularly tell him they saw Rick at Meijer. Dave said people tell him “He’s always smiling and laughing, just makes my day.”
Mary said, “And if they don’t see Rick, they want to know where he’s at.”
Rick, 45, lives independently. Dave said Rick gets some help with tasks like paying bills but other than that is self-sufficient. He has never been on Social Security, his father said.
Dave said Rick “pretty much takes care of himself” and doesn’t need much help from his parents. He uses Hancock Area Transportation Services to get to work or sometimes gets a ride from a coworker.
Dave said the family is “very proud.” His advice to other young adults with developmental disabilities and their parents is that they need to “understand their limitations” and shouldn’t force something on them they can’t do.
“But don’t hold them back because they’re disabled,” he said.
Mary enjoys seeing others with disabilities working in the community.
Dave said Blanchard Valley Center is willing to advocate for employees and help them learn their jobs. Rick had assistance when he worked at Hardee’s.
He participated in Special Olympics in basketball, track and swimming. At the state level he won track events and was presented a medal by Ohio State University football great Archie Griffin.
When he’s not at work, his hobbies include playing computer games and watching movies, particularly science fiction movies. He also collects vinyl records and said he has about 300 or 400 in his collection, most of them older types of music.
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