People of Blount County
Joey Kyle, 28, is one of the most upbeat people you will ever meet. He is a motivator, an encourager, a helper, and hard worker who never sits still. He says he never meets a stranger.
But to know Kyle’s life story is what is truly amazing.
Originally from Georgia, Kyle is believed to have had a traumatic brain injury at a very young age. Oneonta’s June Kyle had the blessing of adopting Kyle and his sister. This was an opportunity for Kyle to lead as much of a normal life as possible.
Despite having a TBI, Kyle defied the odds. He has had the fortune of participating in The Arc residential program for the past 15 years. He credits The Arc for “getting him on the right path” and enabling him to locate employment through the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Kyle doesn’t let his limitations slow him down. He grew up worshipping at a local Church of Christ, graduated from Oneonta High School in 2009, has secured his own apartment, does his own housework, pays his bills, and does his own shopping. He has been employed at Jack’s for the last three years and the Shell station for almost one year. Until recently, he actually worked a third job. He said, “I love to work. I always keep myself busy.”
Early on, Kyle developed his own method of how to remember things. He makes lists and notes to help in that process. Kyle relies on public transportation to travel to and from work, stores, etc. Thankfully he is able to also rely on family for times when public transportation is not available.
Due to his hard work and dedication, Kyle was honored as Jack’s Employee of the Year in 2017 and received the 2018 Alabama Disability Conference award for his service at Jack’s.
Serving as The Arc’s employment services transition manager, Brenda Sweatt has been working with Kyle for several years. She said her role is basically a job coach to help locate employment where residents are able to thrive, blossom, and feel at home in their job. Although it took a couple of failed attempts before finding Kyle the right job(s), she said that Jack’s has been perfect for him. She went on to say, “The room lights up at Jack’s when Joey walks in. He is a ray of sunshine and the perfect example that demonstrates how even though someone has a disability, they can still achieve great things.”
It is evident that working at Jack’s gives Kyle a sense of satisfaction. He said, “I like to see customers who wave when I’m in uniform. I want to make sure they are taken care of.” With a little help, a lot of determination, and having such a great attitude, Kyle has the possibility of achieving his lifelong goal of being a co-partner running a Jack’s franchise.
In his spare time, Kyle enjoys spending time on Facebook and YouTube.
Thank you, Kyle, for beating the odds, staying positive, and shining a bright light wherever you go. You definitely are the perfect example of the lyrics referred to in the Matthew Wilder song “Break My Stride:”
“Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a-my stride, nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin’.”