In 1992, a young, single father of two small
sons was in a precarious situation. Like most
parents, he needed a job so he could support
his children. The hitch? Derek Burton has
limitations which affect his mobility and ability
to stand. But not his spirit or determination.
He’d worked for a decade at Sears, and
during his tenure there had earned his
associate’s degree in computer science from
Oklahoma City Community College. When
Derek heard Sears was closing that store, he
felt like a heavy weight had been placed on
him. For three years, he desperately sought
another job without any success.
That was until one day when his vocational
rehabilitation counselor told him about a
cashier position for a new Food Service
contract set aside for Dale Rogers Training
Center on Tinker Air Force Base through the
AbilityOne Program. This created a confluence
of circumstances which led to the impossible
becoming possible for a man whose biggest
dream was to be able to send his sons to
“Dale Rogers Training Center gave me
a chance to grow and to believe in myself.
Many times, we don’t think we can survive or
compete, but we can do more than just suffer
with disability. At Dale Rogers Training Center,
you become a part of the family, and it gives
you confidence,” Burton says.
Today, some 25 years later, Derek and his
two adult sons are thriving, and the dreams
of this father have come true. Dakoda, his
eldest son, is now in veterinarian school, and
younger son Dylan is completing his internship
to become a pharmacist.