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Celebrating 20 Years of Work... and Spreading Joy

Tom Brought Plenty has been an important part of the McKie company for the last two decades......

It’s simple, Tom Brought Plenty said. He likes his job. “I’m happy to do my work and to see people,” said Brought Plenty, who is supported by Black Hills Works (BHW) and recently celebrated 20 years of custodial work at McKie Ford Lincoln.

As the nation celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, Brought Plenty is a great example and reminder of the importance of quality work opportunities for people with disabilities, said BHW Support Coordinator Shelby Wentz. “It’s a goal for other people to see and recognize where they can go,” she said. “He’s been great.”

Brought Plenty works at the store three days a week, getting rides to and from work from a friend. Penny Burmeister, a direct support staff member, said Brought Plenty’s attitude is an important part of his success. “He’s so social and always happy,” she said. “He’s never down and it makes you feel good to be around him.”

His work ethic is top-notch as well, she added. “He’s really good at what he does and he shows everybody how to do it,” Burmeister said.

Sheri Gunsalus worked with Brought Plenty when she was housekeeping manager at McKie from 2010 until 2016 and accompanied him during a celebration luncheon in August. McKie employees who have been with the company for 20 years are taken to lunch at the Arrowhead Country Club and receive a Rolex watch. “There was a perma-grin on his face,” Gunsalus said, laughing.

Brought Plenty has been an important part of the McKie company for the last two decades, she added. “He’s like family,” she said. “Everybody has adopted him like a little brother.”

Gunsalus said she wouldn’t hesitate to encourage other local businesses to partner with Black Hills Works and hire people with disabilities. “They are so dedicated and reliable,” she said. “Tom’s a go-getter. He’s always on the move. And it’s his surroundings. Everybody is so supportive of him.”

She added that she hopes Brought Plenty has many more great days ahead because he brings joy to others. “We were in the store one time and we were in the soup aisle for 45 minutes because of all the people he knew,” she said. “I hope he relaxes and he takes care of himself.”

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