Mark Gilmore – Orange Park, FL
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Growing up in Orange Park, Florida, Mark Gilmore attended Orange Park Middle School and High School with his sister. While taking Special Education classes, Mark made room for the Drama club and starred as Ward Cleaver in the school’s production of Leave it to Beaver. Mark graduated with a special diploma in 1987 and started on his career path by working for the nonprofit agency, Challenge Enterprises through the AbilityOne Program.
For the past 20 years at Challenge Enterprises, Mark has continued to strive and challenge himself. He has had many different jobs including: recycling and landscaping at the local Naval Air Station and working on a tree farm in Green Cove Springs, Florida. In 2003, Mark started his current position as a custodian at the Bryan Simpson Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida. For the past six years, he has maintained his duties washing windows, vacuuming and dusting the judges’ chambers. He has many friends at work and that’s his favorite part of his job. Because of his steady employment with Challenge Enterprises, Mark is a homeowner. His job is very important because he can earn his own money and pay his bills.
Mark has received numerous trophies in the Special Olympics Bowling Competition and he has been active in Special Olympics for 30 years. He is a member of the Input Council, which gives him the opportunity to tell others about participating in the Special Olympics.
Mark’s speech is given from his own perspective as a person with Down Syndrome. His message tells his life story and how his employment with the AbilityOne Program has changed his life. Mark has spoken at the NISH North Central Region NCWC in Chicago, Illinois, the NCMA Jacksonville Chapter meeting in Jacksonville, Florida and the NISH South Region NCWC in Jacksonville, Florida.