Region V Services Celebrates One Millionth Tool Bag

NEBRASKA CITY – Over 135 citizens attended Region V Services open house to recognize the production of 1 million tool bags in 30 years.

Area Director Linda Plager said it’s a tremendous achievement.

Plager: “This is something we’ve been working on for over 30 years. I was talking to someone who was here 30 years ago that has since retired and she reminded me how much of a community process this whole thing has been because so many people have worked for us, but we also had great support from the community when we started.

People from Pendleton helped set this up. Pendleton is not even here anymore. And we’ve just had great, great community support.”

She said it’s significant both in the number of bags produced and the people involved.

Plager: “It’s significant because its 30 years and a million bags, but it wouldn’t happen without the people that do it. This particular contract requires that at least 75 percent of the work be done by people with disabilities and, except for a few times in this 30-year history, we’ve met or exceeded that. Most of the time we’re between 80 and 85 percent of the work being done by people that we support who experience a disability.”

Tim Lawton is a bar tack. He clips bags, seals and inspects. He said the quality of each of the 1 million bags is important.

Lawton: “We’ve got to make sure we get all the strings off of  it and we’ve got to make sure the corners are right. We just got to make sure we don’t have no bad spots on it or stuff like that. Because it’s … so far we have had some good bags so far. I like it. It’s fun.

Plager said a few of the workers have been with Region V the entire 30 years, while others have gained job experience that helped them secure work elsewhere.

Plager: “Because really what we want, as good as this is, we want people to have a job in Nebraska City. We want them to work someplace else besides here. So this has been a good stepping stone for a lot of people to learn about work and figure out what that’s all about while making a product that our government uses all the time. I mean, people know there is a purpose here. They know that these are going to people who are fighting overseas and doing things like that. There’s a reason for what they are doing. There’s a purpose and I think we all need a purpose.”

Bag 1 million and 1 was given as a door prize following the open house.