Job well done by Carole Meekins
MILWAUKEE — An employment opportunity at Marquette University is scoring high marks.
Students at the Marquette Recreation Center can play on clean courts thanks to Ivan Lopez. Some have even called him the “Human Zamboni.”
Ivan Lopez has cerebral palsy. But he is able to keep the floors pristine thanks to a wet mop device attached to the back of his electric wheelchair.
John Sweeney, Director of Student Recreation at Marquette University notes, “Having him come in with a wet mopping situation to clean the courts really pays dividends for us.”
With the help of a job coach, Ivan is able to wipe down the recreation center’s five courts. Every Tuesday you’ll find Ivan at work.
He’s dedicated and proud, and loves his job. He’s a huge sports fan, especially for Marquette Basketball.
Ivan’s brother Abraham attends Marquette as a civil engineering student. Abraham Lopez is inspired by his sibling, and others living with disabilities.
He admits, “They give me the strength everyday to go on and do my best. I’m very definitely proud to be his brother and honored. It’s a great blessing!”
Ivan’s wages are paid by the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Job development and coaching is provide by Creative Employment Opportunities or CEO. Edward Sheehy is a consultant.
Sheehy explains, “If tax money is going to be spent to help people with disabilities, it should be used to help them find work in their community rather than being isolated in a segregated situation.”
John Sweeney, Director of the Recreational Sports Center, has a personal connection to the program.
“I’ve got a daughter with special needs. That got my attention right away. I thought, down the road I’m going to need something for her, and I thought if I don’t step up now, who will!”
And Ivan Lopez is proof that with a little creativity and determination, those with disabilities can find meaningful jobs and become productive members of our nation’s workforce.