HELENA — Jesse Taylor, who's deaf and a graduate of Helena High School, was rewarded the Transition Award at the "Yes I Can Awards" in Billings, but couldn't attend the ceremony, due to harsh weather. Now, Taylor's co-workers at Top Gun Auto Body will present him with his accomplishment.
The Yes I Can Awards celebrate the achievements of kids with exceptionalities, encouraging these individuals to seek their highest potential and increase public awareness of the abilities, aspirations, and personal qualities of those with disabilities.
Taylor is the 2023 Transition Award Winner, which recognizes and rewards Taylor for his hard work in transferring from school to the workforce. Close educator to Taylor, Emily LaSalle, is proud of his accomplishment.
"I'm really proud of Jesse. It's been amazing to watch and grow from a toddler to a high school graduate and now to have a job of his own where he comes in, punches, a clock, gets a paycheck. I'm so proud of him. This award means a lot and means a lot to him. It means a lot to me, it means a lot to all of the people that work with Jesse," said LaSalle.
For Taylor, he was also proud of himself.
"I'm happy, yes. For the award," explained Taylor.
Ted Culbertson, the owner of Top Gun Auto Body, was happy they were able to transfer the award back to Helena and give Taylor a personal award ceremony with his co-workers.
" I really, truly believe that, you know, he's not working for me. I'm working for him. Right. And I think that what he's taught the staff and the challenges and you may think you're having a rough day or the challenges you got ahead. I mean, you can put yourself in his shoes and see what he's doing. I'm just really honored to be working with him," said Culbertson.
Culbertson was proud of his team, for helping Taylor pool money together to make the award ceremony in Billings before Taylor couldn't make it due to weather, but they still made it special for Taylor congratulating him on his award.
"I'm really thankful for my guys and coming together and putting your best foot forward," said Culbertson, "and there is no doubt I got such a great team around me."